Doctor pleads guilty to role in $56M home health fraud scheme

A Louisiana physician admitted writing false home health care certifications for a Medicare fraud scheme. Dr. Winston Murray of Hammond, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to two counts of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Murray is the ninth defendant in this case to plead guilty. His sentencing is scheduled for August 12, 2015.

Scheme

Murray wrote home health referrals for Medicare beneficiaries from his clinic in Hammond. The referrals were for beneficiaries who were not home bound. Home health companies, including Interlink Health Care Services, Inc. (Interlink), and Lakeland Health Care Services, Inc. (Lakeland), used these referrals to fraudulently bill Medicare for services that were not rendered and not medically provided. Interlink and Lakeland billed Medicare for more than $2.2 million based on Murray’s certifications. From 2007 through 2014, all companies involved in the scheme submitted over $56 million in mostly fraudulent claims.

HEAT

This case was investigated as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The strike force and Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team (HEAT) unite the resources of the FBI, HHS Office of Inspector General and other agencies. These efforts have resulted in charging over 2,000 defendants for fraudulent Medicare billings of over $6.5 billion.