A Columbus, Ohio, physician with ties to Caremark International was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on charges of receiving $134,600 in illegal physician kickbacks.
Elliot Neufeld, 42, a Columbus osteopathic physician, was charged with conspiracy to solicit and accept Medicare and Medicaid kickbacks from an unnamed home infusion company, soliciting and accepting kickbacks, and mail fraud.
Dr. Neufeld declined to comment on the charges. His attorney, James Streicker of the Chicago-based law firm Cotsirilos, Stephenson, Tighe & Streicker, said his client will plead innocent.
Mr. Streicker also represents Caremark executive Judy Giel, who was indicted along with Caremark and four other individuals last month by a federal grand jury in Minneapolis, charged with paying a Minneapolis physician $1.1 million in illegal kickbacks (Aug. 8, p. 4).
Caremark wasn't specifically named in last week's indictment in Columbus. However, sources close to the events told MODERN HEALTHCARE that Caremark is the home infusion company referred to in the indictment and remains the focus of the federal investigation in Ohio.
The unnamed company was not charged in the indictment.
Meanwhile, Caremark denied any involvement in the case.
"We're not discussing details of the indictment," Caremark spokesman Les Jacobson said. "We were not involved. There is nothing to say." When asked whether Dr. Neufeld was affiliated with Caremark, Mr. Jacobson declined comment.
Since August 1991, Caremark's business arrangements with physicians have been the center of an ongoing federal investigation. At issue is whether the Northbrook, Ill.-based company violated federal laws by paying physicians illegal kickbacks in return for Medicare patients.
In 1993, approximately 14% of Caremark's revenues, or about $250 million, came directly from Medicare and Medicaid patients.