By George Bao Sept. 9, 2016
LOS ANGELES – Two physicians in Los Angeles have been punished for their scheme to improperly transfer patients for medically unnecessary services to make profits, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
A Los Angeles nursing home and two physicians who worked at the facility have paid $3,563,140 to resolve civil allegations that they participated in a scheme to improperly transfer patients recruited from the “Skid Row” district to a hospital for medically unnecessary services, and then transfer the patients from the hospital to the nursing home for medically unnecessary stays.
Westlake Convalescent Hospital; Dr. Jasvant Modi, who worked at Westlake; and Jasvant Modi’s wife, Dr. Meera Modi, paid the settlement on August 3 to resolve a federal “whistleblower” lawsuit, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The settlement was announced Friday after United States District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell dismissed the action.
Between 2008 and 2010, AJIT Healthcare, Inc., doing business as Westlake Convalescent Hospital, allegedly paid illegal kickbacks to a “care consortium” on Skid Row in exchange for patient referrals to Westlake.
During that period and after, Jasvant Modi allegedly readmitted patients from Westlake to the now-closed Temple Community Hospital and then back to Westlake to extend the patients’ Medicare-covered stays at Westlake, knowing the patients did not require further services at either facility.
Meera Modi allegedly signed medical orders for non-payable services for these same patients. Westlake allegedly billed Medicare and Medi-Cal for medically unnecessary services provided to these patients.
“Patient-transfer schemes such as this victimize vulnerable members of our society as well as taxpayer-funded programs designed to aid them,” said United States Attorney Eileen Decker.
“Such schemes are a clear abuse of the physician/patient trust and a fraud on American taxpayers.”