Northeast Times

Authorities: Hospice nurses bilked Medicare

Start­Frag­ment

Fed­er­al au­thor­it­ies ar­res­ted five hos­pice-care nurses last week for al­legedly con­spir­ing to de­fraud Medi­care of more than $9 mil­lion in re­im­burse­ment pay­ments to their North­east-based com­pany.

The U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice has named Pa­tri­cia Mc­Gill, 64, of Phil­adelphia, as the lead de­fend­ant in the scheme. Her co-de­fend­ants in­clude Nat­a­lya Shvets, 42, of Southamp­ton; Giorgi Oqroshidze, 36, of Phil­adelphia; Yev­gen­iya Golt­man, 42, of New­town; and Alex­sandr Kop­tyakov, 39, of Ben­s­alem.

All five de­fend­ants worked for Home Care Hos­pice Inc. at 1810 Grant Ave., and later at 2801 Grant Ave.

A co-own­er of the busi­ness, Mat­thew Ko­lodesh, 49, of Churchville, was charged in a sep­ar­ate in­dict­ment last Oc­to­ber. A second co-own­er, iden­ti­fied in fed­er­al court doc­u­ments only as “A.P.,” served as hos­pice dir­ect­or for Home Care Hos­pice, while Mc­Gill, a re­gistered nurse, served as dir­ect­or of pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices.

Mc­Gill is ac­cused of au­thor­iz­ing and su­per­vising the ad­mis­sion of in­ap­pro­pri­ate and in­eligible pa­tients for hos­pice ser­vices at private res­id­ences, nurs­ing homes and hos­pit­als, res­ult­ing in the col­lec­tion of $9.32 mil­lion in fraud­u­lent re­im­burse­ment claims from Medi­care between Janu­ary 2005 and Decem­ber 2008.

Spe­cific­ally, Mc­Gill al­legedly au­thor­ized nurs­ing staff and su­per­visors, in­clud­ing her four co-de­fend­ants, “to fab­ric­ate and falsi­fy doc­u­ments in sup­port of hos­pice care for pa­tients who were not eli­gible for hos­pice care, or for a high­er, more costly level of care than was ac­tu­ally provided to the pa­tients,” the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice said in a prin­ted state­ment.

Nurses Shvets, Oqroshidze, Golt­man and Kop­tyakov al­legedly cre­ated fraud­u­lent nurs­ing notes for about 150 pa­tients to in­dic­ate that hos­pice ser­vices were provided for pa­tients when, in real­ity, hos­pice ser­vices were not provided.

All five de­fend­ants are charged with one count of con­spir­acy to com­mit health-care fraud. Mc­Gill is charged with 14 counts of health-care fraud, while Shvets is charged with eight counts of the same of­fense, Oqroshidze sev­en counts, Golt­man four counts and Kop­tykov eight counts.

If con­victed, Mc­Gill would likely face a pris­on sen­tence in the range of 108 to 135 months, while her four co-de­fend­ants would face less­er pris­on terms.

Ko­lodesh is charged with con­spir­acy to com­mit health-care fraud, 21 counts of health-care fraud, 11 counts of money laun­der­ing and two counts of mail fraud. A tri­al date has not been set. ••

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You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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