A former assistant administrator of a Houston hospital pleaded guilty to a kickback scheme in which he paid patient recruiters to send Medicare beneficiaries to the hospital's partial hospitalization programs, the Justice Department announced.
Former exec pleads guilty to kickback scheme
Mohammad Khan, who controlled the operations of the partial hospitalization programs for 89-bed Riverside General Hospital, admitted in the plea agreement that he and unnamed conspirators billed Medicare for $116 million for services that were either unnecessary or not performed. In addition to paying recruiters and owners of group homes and assisted-living facilities for the flow of patients, Khan rewarded Medicare beneficiaries with cigarettes, food and coupons redeemable at the hospital's stores.
The scheme, according to the agreement, took place from about January 2008 through Feb. 8, the day Khan was arrested. He remained in custody as of Thursday and is scheduled to be sentenced May 25.
A hospital representative said Khan has been terminated and that neither the hospital nor any other hospital employee has been charged in connection with the scheme.
"The hospital is committed to compliance and guarding against fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicare program," the hospital said in an e-mailed statement. "Riverside General Hospital is cooperating fully with the government's investigation."
Khan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and five counts of healthcare kickbacks. The maximum sentences tally to 40 years. He agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a recommendation for a sentence at the lower end of the sentencing guidelines.
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