Garland Home Health Operators Convicted of $3.7 Million Fraud Scheme

Federal prosecutors obtained a jury conviction of two North Texas home health owners who stole over $3.7 million from Medicare and Medicaid. A joint investigation with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Texas attorney general’s office brought Celestine “Tony” Okwilagwe, Tutu Kudiaratu Etti, Loveth Isidaehomen and Paul Emordi to a six-day trial where they were convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The investigation showed that Okwilagwe and Emordi, who owned and operated Garland-based Elder Care, had been previously barred from participating in healthcare benefit program. Etti and Isidaehomen, Okwilagwe’s wife, falsified ownership documents to hide the identity of the true… Full Story

How Fort Worth is Reducing Healthcare Costs for City Employees

Talk to any healthcare executive, and they will discuss “bending the cost curve.” That means most healthcare providers, insurance networks, and employers are hoping just to slow the increase in healthcare costs, not reduce them. But for Fort Worth’s 14,000 employees, dependents, and retirees, their healthcare spending is heading toward being $4.8 million under budget for fiscal year 2018, according to the Dallas Morning News. How are they doing it? The city is offering an option to sign up with  Southwestern Health Resources, an accountable care organization where UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources have partnered to offer coordinated care.… Full Story

Drug-Trafficking Couple Who Owned Richardson Clinics Convicted

A husband and wife team who ran medical clinics in Richardson have been convicted of drug-trafficking charges, according to the Dallas Morning News. Tad W. Taylor, 63, and his wife, 59-year-old Chia Jean Lee, were a doctor and nurse team who ran two locations of Taylor Texas Medicine in Richardson, and prosecutors said they distributed drugs to those without legitimate medical need. Between January 2010 and September 2011, the DEA investigators found that the clinics gave out 11,700 prescriptions for oxycodone, amphetamine salts (Adderall), hydrocodone, alprazolam (Xanax) and promethazine with codeine, according to DMN. “Dr. Taylor will give you anything you want,”… Full Story

PAC Used “Unauthorized” AARP Logo in an Anti-Pete Sessions Healthcare Ad

In a TV spot called “It Shows,” House Majority Political Action Committee quoted AARP while criticizing Pete Sessions’ record on healthcare, but the AARP says the use of its name was unauthorized. “While AARP is an advocate for affordable health care for older adults and their families, AARP did not authorize this ad to reference AARP or use AARP logo–nor did AARP participate in the production of such ads,” AARP said via release. The organization emphasized its non-partisan and encourages its members to ask questions and learn about the candidates themselves. House Majority PAC describes itself “As the super PAC focused… Full Story

Tenet Healthcare Joins Federal Program for Bundled Payments

Dallas-based Tenet hospitals joined two other healthcare providers by opting into a federal program that aims to improve care while reducing costs, Modern Healthcare reports. Tenet and Adventist Health Systems (who are opening a new hospital in North Texas soon) are two of 1,299 entities who signed agreements with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to participate in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced model. In all, 832 acute care hospitals and 715 physician group practices are included as well, according to Modern Healthcare. In the agreement, CMS pays providers a fixed amount for a certain set of… Full Story

Guilty Plea in Fraud Case From Forest Park Surgeon and Founder

Dr. Wade Neal Barker admitted to being part of a $200 million fraud, bribery and kick back scheme in federal court on Friday, the The Texas Lawbook reports. The bariatric surgeon helped found the since-closed Forest Park Medical Center. Barker is the seventh of the 21 indicted officials associated with the chain of luxury hospitals to admit guilt, according to the The Texas Lawbook. Barker is accused of handing out $40 million in bribes to cooperating doctors. As a founder with access to sources and documents, Barker’s plea may pay dividends for the prosecution. He could end up with a sentence of… Full Story

Chicago-based Law Firm Opening a Healthcare Practice in Dallas

Chicago-based Katten Muchin Roseman is expanding its presence in Dallas with a newly added healthcare practice, according to The Texas Lawbook. The firm employs more than 600 lawyers across 14 US offices, London, and Shanghai. Katten snagged Lisa Atlas Genecov, a former partner at Norton Rose Fulbright who was in charge of healthcare transactions, and Cheryl Camin Murray, who was a partner at Winstead and a shareholder in their healthcare industry group. Kenya S. Woodruff, who will also join the healthcare team, focuses on the creation and maintenance of healthcare facilities for various medical providers. Katten opened its Dallas branch in February,… Full Story

Taking Stock of How DFW’s NICUs Stack Up

In 2013, state legislators passed a bill that required the Department of Health and Human Services to rate the ability of Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) to care for critically ill newborns here in Texas. After the hospitals apply for a certain level of care, ranging from more or less healthy premature babies in Level I to babies who need life support in Level IV, a team from the American Academy of Pediatrics or Texas Perinatal Services, a division of the nonprofit Texas EMS, Trauma & Acute Care Foundation, visits the hospitals and gives their rating recommendation rating to the… Full Story

Next Health Owners Plead Guilty to Money Laundering and Kickbacks

Two men plead guilty in a medical kickback case in Dallas where doctors steered patients to certain hospitals and were paid for it, according to the Dallas Morning News. The owners of the Next Health network of pharmacies, Andrew Hillman, 42, and Semyon Narosov, 54, gave people $50 gift cards to urinate in cups at Whataburger bathrooms. The urine was sent for superfluous testing at Next Health labs acting as a wellness study, according to the DMN. The allegations came to light from a 2017 lawsuit in which United Healthcare sued Next Health for $100 million. Hillman and Narosov admitted that Next… Full Story

Novus Medical Director Becomes Fourth To Plead Guilty In Frisco Home Health Scheme

Another defendant in the federal case against Frisco-based Novus Health Services has taken a guilty plea. Dr. Charles Leach, medical director for Novus from 2014 to 2015, admitted to his role in the $60 million scheme on Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News reported. This is the case in which the feds allege Novus CEO Bradley Harris directed home health nurses to speed up the death of elderly patients by administering certain drugs, among other claims. With the plea deal, Leach, 66, says he signed blank prescriptions and was aware Harris, who is not a doctor, often directed the medical operations.… Full Story