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9 New York Doctors Arrested For Using Homeless People To Defraud Millions From Medicaid

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Mr. Rorie was recruiting homeless people, prosecutors said, and whoever had a valid Medicaid card would be packed into a van and sent to medical clinics around New York City. There, after hours of unnecessary tests and fake diagnoses, the homeless people would be sent off with sneakers - selected from stacks of shoeboxes in the clinics’ basements. The doctors, staff members and billing specialists, meanwhile, would rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars per recruit in false Medicaid claims, prosecutors said.

 

From a warehouse in Sunset Park, Eric Vainer, 43, oversaw the operation with the help of his mother, Polina, 66, prosecutors said. “We can use the same patients like guinea pigs for anything we want,” Mr. Vainer was recorded saying in a government wiretap.

 

- From the New York Times article: 9 New York Doctors Are Accused of Defrauding Medicaid Using Homeless People

In America’s fraudulent oligarch economy in which corruption and theft have become the preferred means to earn money, it’s no surprise doctors feel a need to participate. Do no harm indeed.

From the New York Times:

“Free sneakers, shoes and boots today,” Bernard Rorie shouted, standing outside a soup kitchen in East New York, Brooklyn, where he was being recorded by investigators

 

Mr. Rorie was recruiting homeless people, prosecutors said, and whoever had a valid Medicaid card would be packed into a van and sent to medical clinics around New York City. There, after hours of unnecessary tests and fake diagnoses, the homeless people would be sent off with sneakers — selected from stacks of shoeboxes in the clinics’ basements. The doctors, staff members and billing specialists, meanwhile, would rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars per recruit in false Medicaid claims, prosecutors said.

 

On Tuesday, nine New York doctors were among 23 people indicted in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn in connection with the sneaker scheme, which the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said made almost $7 million and took advantage of thousands of homeless people.

 

From a warehouse in Sunset Park, Eric Vainer, 43, oversaw the operation with the help of his mother, Polina, 66, prosecutors said. “We can use the same patients like guinea pigs for anything we want,” Mr. Vainer was recorded saying in a government wiretap.

 

Typically, once patients arrived at a clinic, they would be seen by a podiatrist, the indictment says. The podiatrist would give a “fictitious diagnosis,” order more tests or specify equipment like orthotics or leg braces that the patient actually did not need. The podiatrist often referred the patient to additional doctors who were part of the scheme, including psychiatrists and pain-management specialists, who might sign the patient up for recurring visits that they could bill. Cardiologists and vein specialists, meanwhile, might bill as if they were reviewing their unnecessary tests without actually doing any reviewing, or claim to Medicaid they had done procedures that they never had.

 

After all of that, the patient would get to pick a pair of shoes, boots or sandals from a storeroom that, in at least one clinic, Mr. Thompson described as “like a shoe store.”

 

The doctors in the group made money by, for instance, seeing a patient for four minutes and billing for 30 minutes, or claiming they had reviewed tests when they had not, or simply billing for procedures they had never done, prosecutors said. Some doctors paid Mr. Vainer a referral fee for each recruit, while some split the Medicaid payment with him.

 

Mr. Vainer made money from the scheme in several ways: He owns medical clinics where the patients were sent; he supplies devices for foot and leg problems; and he had financial arrangements with doctors to whom he sent the recruited homeless patients, prosecutors said.

 

Mr. Vainer also made money by supplying cheap equipment and billing it to Medicaid as a custom medical device — for instance, supplying a drugstore shoe insert and billing it to Medicaid as a custom orthotic, for which he received about $330.

 

Some of the doctors involved are affiliated with well-known institutions. Dr. Joseph Grossman, 82, a cardiologist, was a clinical assistant professor of medicine at New York Medical College. The vein surgeon Dr. David Glass, 65, a former assistant chief of surgery at New York Methodist, is an assistant clinical professor at Cornell, according to his website. Dr. Grossman and Dr. Glass pleaded not guilty.

They should’ve been bankers if they wanted to get away with it.