Friday, November 18, 2005

Medicare Fraud Conviction

The U.S. Attrorney's Office for the Nothern District of Texas announced the conviction of two owners of a durable medical equipment (DME) company and one doctor for medicare fraud.  The defendants were Chuck Ogba, his younger brother, Iffy Ogba, and Dr. Patrick Antoon.  According to a press release (here):

Chuck Ogba owned and operated his DME, Universal Health Services, Inc. Chuck Ogba hired recruiters to find and locate Medicare beneficiaries for scooters or power wheelchairs. Medicare covered the expense of the above medial equipment for the elderly and the disabled. Chuck Ogba, Iffy Ogba, and employees on behalf of Universal, paid $200 cash to medical doctors like Dr. Antoon to sign and certify that the medical equipment provided by Chuck Ogba was medically necessary. Once Chuck and Iffy Ogba received the certificates signed by the doctors, called certificates of medical necessity (CMN), Universal would always bill Medicare for the reimbursement of a K0011 power wheelchair and list of accessories. Chuck and Iffy Ogba, through Universal, would provide to the Medicare patient a K0011 power wheelchair, or another less expensive piece of equipment such as a scooter, and in some cases, nothing at all. Under this illegal arrangement, Universal billed Medicare in excess $12,000,000.00.

Dr. Antoon was one of several doctors in Arkansas who accepted illegal kickback payments from Universal in exchange for signed CMNs. Dr. Antoon received $200 for each patient that Medicare reimbursed to Universal for the cost of a K0011 power wheelchair and accessories. By virtue of his acceptance of illegal kickbacks, Dr. Antoon allowed Chuck Ogba, Iffy Ogba, and Universal to cause significant harm to Medicare, which is funded in part by taxpayer payroll contributions.


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