A registered physical therapy assistant was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison for signing false medical records that were used by her employer to submit false claims to Medicare. The physical therapy assistant, Hetal Barot, was also sentenced to serve two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution.
According to court documents, the physical therapy assistant signed false medical records at four home health care companies: Physicians Choice Home Health Care LLC, First Care Home Health Care LLC, Quantum Home Care Inc., and Moonlite Home Care Inc.
The false medical records included evaluations, therapy revisit notes, and other medical documentation memorializing physical therapy for patients that she did not actually see or treat. These records were used to submit false claims to Medicare for reimbursement.
Medicare paid the four home health companies a total of $13.8 million. Of that amount, Medicare paid approximately $1,336,739 based on false files and notes signed by this physical therapy assistant. The court therefore ordered her to pay restitution of $1.3 million, even though that money was paid to her employer and not to the physical therapy assistant herself.
This is another tragic example of what you should never do if you are employed as a healthcare professional or provider. Instead of going to prison, this physical therapy assistant could have collected a reward of up to $4 million and avoided a criminal conviction if she had consulted an experienced Medicare fraud lawyer.
The False Claims Act contains a qui tam provision that allows an individual to earn a reward for helping the government stop Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The reward ranges from 15% to 30% of the amount of money the government actually recovers. In this case, the reward could have been as much as $4 million.
When an individual agrees to help the government fight fraud under this law, they are also eligible for legal protection as a healthcare fraud whistleblower. Unfortunately, too many employees go along with their employer’s instructions or requests because they do not realize that they could end up in prison or that they have an alternative.
Do not go to prison for your employer’s fraud. If you are asked to authorize treatment that is not medically necessary or to sign patient records that are not true, then you should consult with an experienced Medicare and Medicaid fraud attorney immediately.
The consultation is free and confidential. You can schedule your consultation by calling John Howley, Esq. at (917) 652-6504 or simply click here to reach our office via email.
John Howley, Esq.
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