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Health Care Fraud

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NEWS
May 3, 2008
Authorities arrested a Severna Park woman yesterday on charges that she billed Medicare and private health care companies for more than a half-million dollars for services she didn't provide, the U.S. attorney's office said. A statement from federal prosecutors in Baltimore says Virginia Vought Acree, 49, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on 10 counts of health care fraud. The government also is seeking forfeiture of $578,780. Prosecutors said that Acree is a state-licensed clinical specialist in child and adolescent psychiatric and mental health nursing who worked out of her home in the first block of Brenda Court in Severna Park.
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NEWS
By Colin Campbell and The Baltimore Sun | September 15, 2014
The owner of an Owings Mills medical firm is accused of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of more than $7.5 million in a federal indictment unsealed Monday. Federal prosecutors say Alpha Diagnostics owner Rafael Chikvashvili, 67, of Baltimore created false examination reports, submitted insurance claims for medical procedures that were never performed by licensed physicians, and overbilled Medicare and Medicaid, among other fraudulent acts. The X-ray company's offices in Owings Mills and Harrisburg, Pa., were raided last October by the FBI. Chikvashvili directed his employees, who were not doctors, to interpret X-rays, medical tests, ultrasounds and cardiological exams, rather than paying licensed physicians to do the work, the indictment alleged.
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NEWS
By Nelson Schwartz and Nelson Schwartz,Contributing Writer | May 7, 1992
WASHINGTON -- Health care fraud and abuse could cost Americans $70 billion this year and may cost even more in the coming decade unless Congress takes steps to control it, according to a government study to be made public at a hearing on Capitol Hill today.A draft copy of the report, prepared by the General Accounting Office (GAO), also found examples of private companies and doctors who submitted phony documents and ordered unnecessary tests, collecting billions in fees from private insurance companies as well as public programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | February 7, 2013
The previous owner of University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center has agreed to pay the federal government $4.9 million for overbilling the Medicaid and Medicare system by keeping patients in the hospital longer than needed. Catholic Health Initiatives, which recently sold the hospital to University of Maryland Medical System, did not admit to wrongdoing under the settlement announced Thursday. The medical company said in a statement that it wanted to avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings.
BUSINESS
By Gary Cohn LTC and Gary Cohn LTC,Staff Writer | December 4, 1993
For more than a year now, there's been widespread discussion about reforming America's $900-billion-a-year health care system.Most of the talk has centered on two areas: how to get more people covered and how to control costs.What has gotten lost in the public discussion about health care reform is health care fraud.The numbers are staggering: Medical fraud and abuse accounts for an estimated $100 billion annually.Put another way: More than 10 cents out of every dollar spent on health care goes for fraud or abuse.
NEWS
By Knight-Ridder News Service | March 22, 1995
WASHINGTON -- Health care fraud is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the United States -- costing government and private insurance plans at least $44 billion a year -- and federal investigators are far behind the crooks, FBI Director Louis J. Freeh told Congress yesterday.Fraud schemes are so profitable that street gangs and cocaine distributors in South Florida, Southern California and other parts of the country are turning to ripping off Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies, Mr. Freeh said.
NEWS
By LOS ANGELES TIMES | August 29, 2005
WASHINGTON -- A federal law established at Abraham Lincoln's urging to punish vendors who sold shoddy goods to the Union army has become the government's most formidable weapon against health care fraud. But the success of the law, which has recovered almost $8 billion in such fraud since 1987, has prompted an attack by pro-business conservatives who want to cut back a critical provision: the authority to pay hefty rewards to whistle-blowers who provide inside information about improper activities by medical groups, drug companies and other health care providers.
NEWS
By John Rivera and John Rivera,SUN STAFF | August 19, 1996
The U.S. health care system has grown into a trillion-dollar-a-year behemoth, making it a fat target for unscrupulous entrepreneurs who are stealing billions of dollars.Next to violent crime, fighting health care fraud has become the priority for Baltimore's U.S. attorney and the FBI -- as it has for Attorney General Janet Reno -- and they are using a Civil War-era statute to do it: the federal False Claims Act.Adopted in 1863 when profiteers were gouging the Union army by such acts as selling gunpowder kegs filled with sawdust, the law encourages whistle-blowers to come forward.
NEWS
By Los Angeles Times | February 3, 1992
...VTC WASHINGTON -- Estimating that health care fraud is costing billions of dollars, the Department of Justice is doubling the number of FBI agents investigating such crimes and is setting up special prosecution units in 12 cities, including Baltimore.Department officials will tell Attorney General William P. Barr in a report this week that health-care violations have grown from those committed by single practitioners to "organized criminal activity" affecting the $738 billion industry.
NEWS
By Michael James and Michael James,SUN STAFF | October 7, 1997
Saying that health care fraud is one of the nation's top two criminal problems, federal authorities announced a toll-free number yesterday that Marylanders can call to report waste and abuse affecting Medicare.The "Health Care Fraud Hotline," 800-377-5879, was established because of staggering levels of Medicare fraud each year, said Lynne A. Battaglia, U.S. attorney for Baltimore. Health and human services officials estimate $23 billion is lost annually from the Medicare program.Health care fraud is the No. 2 law enforcement priority for the U.S. Department of Justice, second only to violent crime, Battaglia said.
EXPLORE
AEGIS STAFF REPORT | April 19, 2012
The Harford County State's Attorney's office is participating in National Crime Victims' Rights Week April 22-28 and will feature a program about presenting crime this Monday. This annual observance seeks to increase public awareness and knowledge among crime victims and survivors about the wide range of rights and services available to people who have been victimized by crime, according to State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly. The theme for the 2012 National Crime Victims' Rights Week is "Extending the Vision, Reaching Every Victim.
HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | January 12, 2012
In Maryland, an orthopedic practice agreed to pay $2.5 million to the federal government to settle allegations that it had billed for patients' visits that never took place and had double-charged for X-ray work to get higher reimbursements. In Connecticut, a health care facility paid nearly a half-million dollars to the federal government in a similar settlement over allegations that it had exaggerated costs associated with a prostate cancer treatment. Those allegations, and another leveled recently at a Baltimore-area hospital, have highlighted an arcane record-keeping practice called "upcoding.
NEWS
May 3, 2008
Authorities arrested a Severna Park woman yesterday on charges that she billed Medicare and private health care companies for more than a half-million dollars for services she didn't provide, the U.S. attorney's office said. A statement from federal prosecutors in Baltimore says Virginia Vought Acree, 49, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on 10 counts of health care fraud. The government also is seeking forfeiture of $578,780. Prosecutors said that Acree is a state-licensed clinical specialist in child and adolescent psychiatric and mental health nursing who worked out of her home in the first block of Brenda Court in Severna Park.
NEWS
By LOS ANGELES TIMES | August 29, 2005
WASHINGTON -- A federal law established at Abraham Lincoln's urging to punish vendors who sold shoddy goods to the Union army has become the government's most formidable weapon against health care fraud. But the success of the law, which has recovered almost $8 billion in such fraud since 1987, has prompted an attack by pro-business conservatives who want to cut back a critical provision: the authority to pay hefty rewards to whistle-blowers who provide inside information about improper activities by medical groups, drug companies and other health care providers.
BUSINESS
By Bruce Japsen and Bruce Japsen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | June 27, 2003
In what would be one of the largest health-care fraud settlements in U.S. history, Abbott Laboratories will pay more than $600 million to resolve allegations that it worked with medical-care providers to bilk government health insurance programs for the poor and elderly. The medical products giant disclosed late yesterday that it would take a one-time second-quarter charge of $622 million, or 34 cents a share, as a result of an anticipated settlement of civil and criminal allegations against its Ross Products nutrition business.
NEWS
By Del Quentin Wilber and Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF | March 15, 2000
Anthony Cannon was a smooth talker but not a very good physical therapist. He forced one of his patients, suffering from spinal problems, to lift 60-pound weights. During one "therapy session" with a 66-year-old woman recovering from cancer surgery, Cannon only sat on the couch and listened to music. Both patients later told authorities that they were suspicious of Cannon's methods. That's not surprising. Cannon, 39, wasn't a licensed physical therapist and was helping to orchestrate a fraud scheme with his wife, Diane, out of Howard County that earned them more than $400,000.
NEWS
By JOHN R. FRECE and JOHN R. FRECE,SUN STAFF | October 6, 1995
Maryland has been awarded a $200,000 U.S. Justice Department grant to set up a unit to investigate fraud in the health care industry, Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. announced yesterday.The Justice Department wants Maryland "to develop a prototype statewide health care fraud prosecution unit capable of investigating and prosecuting all types of health care fraud" that other states can copy, Mr. Curran said.The effort will be aimed at those who commit fraud against private health care insurers, such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and the federal Medicare system.
NEWS
By Michael James and Michael James,SUN STAFF | June 16, 1998
A Northwest Baltimore nursing care center has agreed to pay $827,000 to the federal government to settle allegations that it improperly billed Medicare numerous times for room and board charges not covered by the program.Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital Inc. had been the target of an investigation begun under the the False Claims Act, the federal government's primary weapon in fighting fraud and waste in the health care industry, prosecutors said yesterday."Since 1994, we have recovered over $30 million utilizing the False Claims Act to attack health care fraud in Maryland," said Kathleen McDermott, an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore who coordinates such cases.
NEWS
By Michael James and Michael James,SUN STAFF | October 7, 1997
Saying that health care fraud is one of the nation's top two criminal problems, federal authorities announced a toll-free number yesterday that Marylanders can call to report waste and abuse affecting Medicare.The "Health Care Fraud Hotline," 800-377-5879, was established because of staggering levels of Medicare fraud each year, said Lynne A. Battaglia, U.S. attorney for Baltimore. Health and human services officials estimate $23 billion is lost annually from the Medicare program.Health care fraud is the No. 2 law enforcement priority for the U.S. Department of Justice, second only to violent crime, Battaglia said.
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