According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, fraudulent ambulance services cost the agency $350 million each year. While these benefits programs will pay for non-emergency ambulance transportation for qualified beneficiaries that have a written order from their doctor vouching that it is medically necessary, there are unscrupulous ambulance companies waiting in line to defraud their customers and the government, so they can pocket the extra cash.
The owner and operator of an ambulance company in Ohio used fraudulent practices to submit more than $1.4 million in bogus bills to Medicare and Medicaid over seven years. He claimed that he provided his clients with transportation to dialysis treatment centers when they were never transported by his ambulance service at all. (Court documents show that he transported dialysis patients for approximately five years. Perhaps he figured he had a good track record and no one would check up on him over the other two years.)
The 43-year-old man, who also owned a second ambulance company, was convicted of money laundering and health care fraud. He will serve two years in prison for his crime. In addition, he was ordered by the judge to amend his personal and corporate income tax returns for four filing years. (So now he has a bad record with two government agencies.)
Sometimes fraudulent transportation services such as this one treat ambulances like a glorified taxi service when patients can drive themselves to medical treatments. (Ambulance companies can bill government health care programs as much as $400 for a roundtrip. It would be much cheaper to take a taxi.)
Unfortunately, there are ambulance companies that target dialysis patients because they must receive medical treatment several times a week. (Estimates show that this can cost more than $60,000 per patient.) Fortunately, this ambulance driver won’t be taking advantage of any more patients. It looks like the only place he will be going for the next two years won’t require a taxi ride, but a paddy wagon.
Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Ambulance company owner sentenced in Medicare fraud case,” posted on Cincinnati.com on January 26, 2017.
The owner of Community Angels Ambulance will serve two years in prison after being convicted of money laundering and health care fraud.
Terry Johnson, 43, of Hamilton, was sentenced in U.S. District Court after admitting to submitting more than $1.4 million in fraudulent bills to Medicare and Medicaid, according to a news release from United States Attorney of the Southern District of Ohio’s office.