Three local physicians are caught up in the 58-person health care fraud indictment across the state of Texas for their relationships with marketing companies and compounding pharmacies. The charges say the doctors received kickbacks for writing prescriptions for patients covered by the Department of Defense health care program even though the doctors never saw the patients.
Dallas has been a frequent target for health fraud investigations, and the region is coming off another kickback/marketing scheme in the Forest Park trial this winter. Dallas is one of the more expensive cities in the country to receive healthcare, and is a hotbed for entrepreneurial healthcare companies, but often times arrangements between physicians and those who want to benefit from the industrial medical complex cross the line into illegal activity.
Indictments were filed against Dr. Brian Carpenter, a Fort Worth podiatrist who is also the Executive Director of the Texas Podiatric Medical Association, Dr. Craig Henry, an internal medicine who worked for an MDVIP practice in Arlington and who is an affiliate member of the hospital’s medical staff. He does not have credentials to admit patients, practice or perform procedures in the hospital, and hasn’t practiced in the hospital for several years. Henry’s brother Dr. Bruce Henry is also a physician, and is included in the indictment.
Carpenter and Henry were involved in two different situations, but both were allegedly very similar. A recruiter or marketer would facilitate a connection between the doctors and health plan holders at TRICARE, the Department of Defense health care organization. The indictment says the physicians would write prescriptions for patients, some of them members of the armed forces. The doctors allegedly never saw many of the patients, and the prescriptions would be filled by a compounding pharmacy. The pharmacy would file claims with TRICARE for the prescriptions, who would pay the pharmacy for the drugs. The pharmacy would then pay the recruiter illegal kickbacks for bringing them business, and the recruiter or marketer would pay the physician a portion of the profits for the fraudulent prescriptions.
In both cases, the indictment says TRICARE contacted the physicians to audit their prescriptions, and that the physicians prepared medical records to make it appear as if the physician had seen all the patients for whom he had written prescriptions. The indictment says the drugs were at times never even delivered to or used by those for whom they were intended, and that plan members were sometimes just sent vitamins or protein powder instead. Both cases indict the physicians and their recruiters for conspiracy to commit health fraud and health fraud.
Carpenter allegedly worked with recruiter Jerry Hawrylak, a recruiter for a compounding pharmacy, while the scheme operated between November 2014 and January 2017, submitting $8.5 million in false claims to TRICARE. The pharmacy allegedly paid $1.5 million in illegal kickbacks and bribes. Hawrylak made the connection between the patients, the pharmacy, and Dr. Carpenter, the indictment says.
“Dr. Carpenter has been helping people his whole life. He has done nothing wrong and he looks forward to the truth coming out,” Carpenter’s attorney Robert Jarvis told The Dallas Morning News.
In Craig Henry’s indictment, he allegedly worked with Nilash Patel, who owned RxConsultants, a sales and marketing company in Colleyville, Texas. Their arrangement ran from December 2014 to December 2015, submitting $2 million in false claims along the way. Patel and other marketers recruited TRICARE members to get prescriptions from Craig Henry, who allegedly never saw many of the patients. Patel received a percentage of the profits from the compounding pharmacy, and allegedly passed some of the kickback along to Craig Henry.
When TRICARE audited Craig, the indictment say he recruited his brother Dr. Bruce Henry to help reconstruct patient files to make it appear as if he had properly examined the patients before writing prescriptions.