On Wednesday, the same day that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testified before a congressional panel about "glitches" in the new Obamacare web site, and her boss President Barack Obama visited Boston, Mass., to boast about the benefits of government-run medical insurance, a physician working for a government agency pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn, N.Y., courtroom to defrauding the federal health care system.
A licensed psychiatrist, Dr. Mikhail L. Presman, working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), pleaded guilty to health care fraud. He admitted that he falsely billed Medicare for home medical treatment to Medicare beneficiaries and he agreed to forfeit more than $1.2 million in illegal profits.
Special Agent in Charge Thomas O’Donnell of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) along with other federal officials made the announcement on the same day as Dr. Presman's guilty plea.
According to court documents, from Jan. 1, 2006, through May 10, 2013, the 55-year-old Presman made about $4 million worth of Medicare claims for home treatment of Medicare beneficiaries in spite of his full-time, salaried position as a psychiatrist at the VA hospital in Brooklyn. N.Y.
Contrary to his claims, Presman never provided treatment to a substantial number of patients he claimed to have treated and who were elderly Medicare recipients.
For example, Presman submitted claims to Medicare for home medical visits at locations within New York City even though he was proven to have been visiting the People's Republic of China at the time of these purported home visits.
Additionally, Presman filed claims with Medicare for more than 50 home visits of Medicare beneficiaries who were not at home but had been inpatients at hospitals on the dates of he claimed the fraudulent visits.
Dr. Presman is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser of the Eastern District of New York on Feb. 13, 2014, and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. He may also be subject to loss of his medical license and other professional disciplinary actions, according to law enforcement officials.
The lead investigators were from the Health and Human Services Administration's Office of the Inspector General and the case is part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.