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Welcome back to the ESS blog! We aim to use these articles to help business owners and hiring professionals to better understand the value of working with a seasoned background check company. By ensuring your background check and drug testing partner is well versed in the ever-evolving landscape of compliance within the background check industry, you can be confident that you’re making the right hiring decisions. The cost of a bad hire can be calculated, and ensuring you don’t hire the wrong person is always vital for your company’s reputation. 

In the medical community, there are federal safeguards in place, known as OIG exclusion lists, to prevent the wrong person from working in the medical field. Today we will talk about a recent story that demonstrates how the medical community, despite its inarguable value to society, still has bad players who circumvent justice and break the law. 

Recently announced via the DOJ, two Florida doctors were sentenced for their participation in a scheme that generated over $31M in Medicare claims for durable medical equipment (DME). The two doctors practiced in Orange County Florida. One as an orthopedic surgeon and the other as a chiropractor. For this article, we will refer to the subjects by their respective titles. Not exactly who comes to mind first when thinking of criminals…

Get Rich Scheme

According to the DOJ press release, the chiropractor conspired to steal millions of dollars from Medicare. He also owned 1 of 4 DME companies that collectively billed Medicare over $31 million, for equipment that was deemed unnecessary. The chiropractor and his co-conspirators “acquired patient referrals and signed doctors’ orders by paying kickbacks to marketers who used overseas call centers to solicit patients and telemedicine companies to procure prescriptions for unnecessary braces for these patients.” The orthopedic surgeon owned one of the DME companies and concealed his and another co-conspirator’s roles in the scheme by putting the DME equipment company in the name of one of his family members.

Read More: Feds Bust Massive Fraudulent Nursing Diploma Mill Scheme

Trust Is Vital

We all need medical assistance from time to time. Regardless of if you’re hiring in the medical field or just an average citizen, we tend to inherently trust our medical community. This story is obviously a horrific example of how untrustworthy a medical professional can be, but it should open readers’ eyes to a reality that you can’t just trust anyone, based on their profession. 

This example was uncovered through the hard work of the FBI and the HHS-OIG, who uncovered enough evidence to bring charges and a sentence. The chiropractor was sentenced to 8 years and 1 month in prison and ordered to pay $1,404,200.97 in restitution, and the orthopedic surgeon was sentenced to 2 years and 9 months in prison, and restitution will be determined later. 

The Reality Is

Many innocent people were fooled by medical professionals who provided medical advice and signed off on equipment that was unnecessary. Funding for Medicare comes primarily from general revenues, payroll taxes, and premiums. That means innocent taxpayers were also impacted by the mistrust of these medical professionals.

When making hiring decisions, it’s important to ensure you take every necessary step to vet your potential hires. In the medical community, there are searches that must be done routinely, to maintain compliance with even your existing staff. We work with medical organizations to help ensure they maintain compliance and provide background check services to help ensure a hire isn’t on the List of Excluded Individuals and Entities. (LEIE) 

This example sheds light on the unfortunate reality that even the medical community can have a bad egg that can truly make a tremendous negative impact. Be careful who you choose to work with, and who you choose to work for you. If you ever need any help or have any questions regarding your hiring practices and compliance, feel free to give us a call or fill out our contact form to speak with a professional today!