The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has named a former Texas health care company owner as one of its “most wanted.” The agency indicted the business owner on various criminal charges related to health care fraud, including conspiracy to pay kickbacks and money laundering.
What is the OIG’s role? The OIG is a government agency that investigates allegations of health care fraud. The agency has four goals: fight fraud and abuse, promote quality and safety, secure the future of health services and advance excellence and innovation within the field.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Unit is a subset of this organization. Any individual or business that is the subject of an investigation by the OIG is wise to take the matter seriously.
Why is a Texas home health care agency business owner one of the agency’s most wanted? The home health agency owned by the man in question operated in the Houston, Texas area from 2006 to 2015. During this period, the government alleges the agency received over $13 million in fraudulent Medicare reimbursements.
The OIG also accused the home health care agency of paying out illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters. The OIG states the agency used recruiters to find Medicare eligible patients. The agency then allegedly billed Medicare for services that were either never provided or not medically necessary.
The owner of this home health agency was convicted for fraud and filing false tax returns and sentenced to 80 years imprisonment. The OIG believes he has fled the country and has put him on the “most wanted list” in an attempt to encourage his capture.
This case provides an example of the serious criminal penalties that can come with allegations of health care fraud crimes.