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Healthcare Fraud: Orthofix VP of Sales Sentenced to Prison & Now Physician

Healthcare Fraud: Orthofix VP of Sales Sentenced to Prison & Now Physician

Ilene Terrell, D.P.M. / Source: Podiatry Management Online

Orthofix and the bone-stimulation fraud investigation against them has sentenced seven employees and now one physician. The  highest-ranking company employee convicted was Thomas Guerrieri, former vice president of sales, who was sentenced to eight months in prison and $50,000 in fines in July 2013 for paying kickbacks to healthcare professionals. Four former territory managers and one former regional manager were sentenced. The pending case involves another former territory manager. The company also signed a corporate integrity agreement (not unlike other companies) with HHS’ Office of Inspector General to ensure future compliance.  Modern Healthcare

A Virginia podiatrist who lied to a grand jury about altering patient records to increase Medicare bills has become the eighth person sentenced in the long-running healthcare fraud investigation of orthopedic devicemaker Orthofix International N.V.Dr. Ilene Terrell of Fredericksburg, Va., was sentenced to five months in prison and another five months of house arrest last week for telling a Boston grand jury in 2012 that she didn’t alter patient records to justify billing Medicare for numerous $4,000 Orthofix bone-repair devices.  Terrell eventually admitted to altering the records. But before that, court records say that she warned an Orthofix salesperson to conceal the fraud:

“If you guys take me out,” Terrell told the sales rep, “you are never going to live to hear the end of it. If I roll on this, I am serious, heads are going to roll. Heads are absolutely gonna roll.”

In 2012 Orthofix pled guilty to obstructing a federal investigation into the fraud, eventually paying $42 million in criminal fines and civil payments in a plea deal that included providing key information to prosecutors on company officials who were involved.

“We worked closely with Orthofix to see who did these things and bring individuals to justice,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney David Schumacher, one of the prosecutors on the case. “There was a lot of bad conduct at Orthofix, but they accepted responsibly early on and they cleaned house. They got rid of the bad actors.”

The orginal article does not state if  these criminal offenders were also subject to same as the Synthes Executives who were jailed and were officially excluded from federal health-care programs, meaning no company employing them will be eligible to receive reimbursement for services or drugs through programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Given the private sector’s dependence on government money, companies rarely hire people on the excluded list and should be an industry standard when sentencing.

Full list of crimes and sentencing.

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