A Detroit-area foot doctor pleaded guilty to health care fraud on November 22 for his participation in a Medicare fraud scheme. The guilty plea highlights the expanding reach of the heightened health care fraud detection and enforcment emphasis of Federal officials and the resulting need for heightened care by physicians and other health care providers in their health care billing and other operations to guard against getting caught in this expanding net.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), podiatrist Errol Sherman pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of health care fraud. At sentencing, Sherman faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine
According to the plea documents, between January 2003 and December 2006, Sherman billed Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for a procedure known as an “avulsion of the nail plate” or “nail avulsion” procedure thousands of times with respect to hundreds of beneficiaries. According to court documents, Sherman billed Medicare for nail avulsion procedures never rendered.
Since their start in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine districts have charged thousands of individuals with falsely billing Medicare or more than $2.9 billion.
The rising emphasis of DOJ, HHS and other federal and state officials on health care fraud detection and enforcement requires that health care providers tighten their billing, medical record keeping, training and other compliance efforts to guard against false claims and other health care fraud charges.
For Help With Compliance, Investigations Or Other Needs
If you need help providing compliance or other training, reviewing or responding to these or other health care related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, may be able to help. Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 24 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers and other health industry clients to set up and administer medical privacy and other compliance and risk management policies, to health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns. A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns/ She also regularly designs and presents risk management, compliance and other training for health care providers, professional associations and others. Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications. You can get more information about her health industry experience here. If you need assistance with these or other compliance concerns, wish to inquire about arranging for compliance audit or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.
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