Nursing home admin convicted of healthcare fraud, kickbacks

A former Houston, Texas nursing home administrator was convicted late last week of healthcare fraud and anti-kickback violations for receiving illegal payments from 2003 to 2007.

Kelvin Washington, 48, received payments for the referral of dialysis patients to a local ambulance transport service. Washington also conspired with others to have unsuspecting doctors sign transport prescriptions for dialysis patients who were never admitted to the nursing home where he worked.

At trial, an undercover video and audio tape showed one of the managers of the ambulance company bribing a patient to ride with them. The ambulance company would later bill Medicare for this patient—a paid informant whose own doctors would not sign a prescription for him.

The bill to Medicare was based upon a false script from the nursing home administrator, according to the FBI. The false scripts alone resulted in $1.2 million billed to Medicare and Medicaid and approximately $450,000 paid.

In a search of a co-conspirator’s home, authorities discovered a list that detailed payments made not only to Washington but also to patients who rode with the ambulance service. A computer file from that home also showed detailed records tracking payments for patients, the check numbers for those payments and confirmed that payments were made to Washington.

Washington faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each of the three convictions for violating the anti-kickback statute as well as a maximum five years for the one conviction of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. In addition, he also faces up to 10 years for each of the six convictions of healthcare fraud.

Each of the 10 counts for which he was convicted also carries a possible $250,000 fine. Sentencing has been set for Feb. 23, 2012.

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