Somewhere in this country is an honest patient recruiter. I am sure at least one exists. We haven’t found him or her yet, however. When a physician, clinic or MRI facility has to pay to recruit patients, there is almost always Medicare fraud going on.
When we say patient recruiter, we aren’t talking about the marketing director of some senior center. (If this is you, change your title immediately!) The term patient recruiter has become synonymous with Medicaid and Medicare fraud.
We are talking about the folks who drive around in vans and recruit the homeless, unemployed and nursing home residents to come to a clinic or other facility for treatments or drugs that they may or may not need and may or may not even receive (even though Medicare is billed for the services).
Last week in Miami a patient recruiter was convicted of felony healthcare fraud charges connected to a scheme that billed Medicare for millions of dollars in unnecessary services. Carlos Nerey, 45, of Miami, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay and receive health care kickbacks and one count of receiving health care kickbacks.
Jurors heard testimony that Nerey pretended to work for a staffing company but really worked as a patient recruiter for two phony home health care companies. (Home health care is another ed flag, although unlike patient recruiters, there are plenty of legitimate home care workers.)
Nerey was one of many arrested and indicted in the scheme. Most previously admitted their guilt, however.
According to the indictment and court records, Nerey was paid approximately $250,000 for recruiting patients for the two fake home care providers (who in turn received $2 million for Medicare.) Everybody made money, except the taxpayers who foot the bill for Medicare.
Sentencing for Nerey will be later this year.
Medicare Fraud, Patient Recruiter and Whistleblower Awards
Most Medicare frauds come to light because of whistleblowers. Under the federal False Claims Act, whistleblowers with inside knowledge of healthcare scams, including patient recruiter operations, can receive a large award for blowing the whistle.
Patient recruitment schemes are almost always illegal because the federal Anti-Kickback Statute makes it illegal to receive anything of value for referring a patient.
Why? Congress believes that medical decisions should be based on medical need and necessity. Paying bribes or receiving kickbacks means medical decisions are based on money and greed, not what is best for the patient.
Interested in becoming a whistleblower? Give us a call or send an email. Our whistleblower clients have received over $100 million in awards. We love to help people put a stop to fraud and earn the maximum cash award. All inquiries are kept strictly confidential and there is never a fee for our services unless we recover money for you.
If you have accepted illegal kickbacks or acted as a paid patient recruiter, you may still be eligible for an award unless you were the leader or the kingpin of the scheme. Stepping forward could be a smart strategy to avoid prosecution too. Instead of constantly looking over your shoulder, we can help you negotiate a deal with prosecutors to make sure you stay out of trouble and receive an award.
For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct).
MahanyLaw – America’s Whistleblower Lawyers