Thursday, December 21, 2006

BUSTED!

Having seen more than a few examples of insurance fraud in the hospital (some doctors bribe patients with free samples of medications and then don't see them, but bill for an office visit!), it is gratifying to see people get busted. I am all for lower health care costs, and this kind of behavior is one of the major elements that keep driving it up. It is disappointing to think that an acupuncturist would be engaged in this kind fraud, but if they are guilty, then I hope the government will be able to recap its losses.

2 acupuncturists charged with fraud
3:52 PM December 20, 2006
Star report

Two Carmel residents have been charged with health care fraud, U.S. Attorney Susan W. Brooks announced today.

Wei Chen Yang, 44, and Horng Shao, 40, were charged following an investigation by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Court filings allege that Yang and Shao ran the Yang Health Center in Carmel, and provided primarily acupuncture services to control pain and for other purposes. Few health care insurers cover acupuncture treatments.

Brooks said the pair fraudulently billed Medicare, the federal health care program for the elderly, and private insurers, such as Anthem and United Health Care, approximately $187,000 for the acupuncture services as chiropractic services that were covered by the insurers when they knew that acupuncture services were not covered or paid for by the insurers.

Yang and Shao, who could not be reached for comment, face a maximum possible prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum possible fine of $250,000. An initial hearing will be scheduled before a U.S. magistrate in Indianapolis.

Copyright 2006 IndyStar.com. All rights reserved

1 comment:

amy said...

The greater issue in this unfortunate case is the insurance industry's obstruction and/or reluctance to aknowledge the importance of acupuncture as a viable medical treatment. Whether Yang and Shao intentionally or blindly billed insurance as they did is only a small part of this story. Acupuncture
practitioners need to protect themselves by continuing to legislate for parity in reimbursement. The easy part is to pass judgement on the players, the hard part is to make acupuncture accessable to all insured individuals, and insurance parity the norm for practitioners.