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February 2010 Archives

Trail of Disquieting Reports From Hospitals of Select Medical

Some of the most worrisome reports about Select Medical's hospitals are largely hidden from the public. Inspectors from state health departments regularly visit hospitals on behalf of Medicare to make sure that the hospitals are meeting the requirements to participate in the program. In their visits, often after complaints from patients, family members, nurses and physicians, the inspectors talk to patients and staff members and review medical reports and other evidence. The reports do not identify patients or staff members, but they offer detailed descriptions of what inspectors have found to be a problem, ranging from minor violations, like poor record-keeping, to much more serious issues.

Former Hospital Executive Will Plead Guilty to Paying Kickbacks

A former top executive with Tustin Hospital and Medical Center has agreed to plead guilty to paying illegal kickbacks for patients recruited from L.A.'s skid row, according to papers filed Tuesday, February 9, 2010, in federal court in Los Angeles.Vincent Rubio, 49, was the hospital's chief financial officer when authorities raided the facility two years ago during an investigation into an alleged multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud Medicare and Medi-Cal. Authorities contended that the hospital recruited thousands of homeless people to undergo unnecessary medical tests and procedures.Rubio is the fifth person charged in the scheme, which involved street-level operators and hospital executives. He faces up to 15 years in prison.Federal prosecutors and investigators are pursuing other targets in the probe."Mr. Rubio is cooperating with the ongoing investigation," said Consuelo Woodhead, assistant U.S. attorney. Rubio is due in court next monthIn the plea agreement, Rubio admitted helping to orchestrate payments to Estill Mitts, a skid row center operator, and another unnamed person, who recruited homeless people and transported them to Tustin Hospital. The hospital, authorities said, would then run up thousands of dollars in bills, which were paid by Medicare and Medi-Cal.Authorities said the hospital, under Rubio's direction, paid $2.3 million to the skid row recruiters for a guarantee of 40 to 50 patients a month. The hospital netted $10.6 million from Medicare and Med-Cal because of those patients, according to court papers.Rubio also acknowledged that he pocketed kickbacks from the recruiters and that he failed to report the money on his income tax. In 2005 alone he failed to report $38,000 in extra income.Mitts, 65, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty in September 2008 to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 21.

Wonder Where your Insurance Premiums Go?

Almost daily we at Christian & Davis are contacted by persons who have been injured at work, injured in auto accidents or other personal injuries that are forced to fight the insurance companies to pay their medical expenses. The following article released Tuesday by the Associated Press shows the exorbitant amount of money the insurance companies are paying out to lobby the government for laws that protect them instead of addresses the needs of their policy holders.

Is your Health Insurance Legit?

Missouri regulators have moved to shut down more than a dozen companies that promise health plans but have allegedly left consumers with thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills.

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