Medicare Fraud: San Franciso Update
Enforcement Action in San Francisco: What Happened?
Federal Criminal Complaints have been filed against thirty defendants in the San Francisco area who are charged in a “patients-for-cash” kickback scheme. The complaints center on Amity Home Health Care, the largest home health care provider in the Bay Area, and Advent Care, Inc., a hospice. Under the leadership of Ridhima “Amanda” Singh, Chief Executive Officer, the federal government claims that Amity and Advent paid kickbacks to marketers, doctors, discharge planners/case managers at hospitals, and social workers at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in exchange for referrals.
What kinds of kickbacks were allegedly given to referral sources in this case? The Criminal Complaints in these cases are based on the following:
Cash periodically delivered in envelopes in closed door meetings in amounts up to $5000.00 per delivery
Tickets to supporting events, including tickets to Golden State Warriors’ basketball games
Cash “longevity bonuses,” i.e., the longer hospice patients received hospice care, the more money referral sources received
Sham medical directorship/consultant contracts under which no services were ever performed, but payments to physicians were made
All expenses paid trips to Las Vegas
Gift cards ranging in value from $300.00 to $5,000.00
Handbags from Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Nordstrom
Items from Chanel, Neiman Marcus and Yves Saint Laurent
Tickets to Beyoncé concerts
All expenses paid trips to Napa, California
If the allegations are true, and excerpts from text messages and telephone conversations in the Criminal Complaints seem to indicate that they are, what a terrible shame for everyone involved! It may be tempting for providers, especially competitors, to gloat. Resist this temptation! These allegations harm not only those individuals involved, but the entire home health and hospice industries. Hospitals, discharge planners/case managers and social workers at SNFs come off looking pretty badly, too. Read it and weep!
Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.