Sunday, September 23, 2007

Breaking News. Two Citizens in Brooklyn Plead Guilty to Ilegal Fraud in Home Care. They hope to recover as much as $100 million in fraudulent billings. Why CNN, Fox and most Extremist like Glen Beck, Lou Dobbs had not been cover this news but when an Undocumented Immigrants get caught using social services they spin off the news over, and over to fuel the Anti Immigrant sentiment.

Two men who ran a Brooklyn firm that placed home health care aides pleaded guilty to grand larceny yesterday in a scheme that defrauded Medicaid out of more than $12 million, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced.

The pleas, under which the two men will be required to pay restitution, were the latest turn in Mr. Cuomo’s continuing investigation of the burgeoning home health care industry, one of the fastest growing components of Medicaid and also one of the most lightly regulated.

The two men, Nachem Singer, 43, and Ervin Rubenstein, 43, both of Brooklyn, ran their agency, Immediate Home Care, from 1994 to 2006, according to Mr. Cuomo’s office. The company employed at least 2,000 home health aides, including a dozen who were convicted last week of working with phony certifications.

According to the attorney general, the men hired home aides with inadequate training or fraudulent certification and provided them to agencies that in some cases billed Medicaid for work that was never done.
Home health aides — who provide a variety of services, from administering medication to catheter care — are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, including 16 hours of practical training with a registered nurse, and to complete a written test in English.

But Immediate Home Care recruited aides from a number of state-certified schools from which home health aide certificates could be purchased with little or no training, the attorney general said. Those included two New York City-based schools — Smalls Training and Counseling School and On Time Home Care Agency — whose owners pleaded guilty earlier this year to supplying hundreds of home health care aides with false certificates.

Immediate Home Care then contracted those aides out to certified home health care agencies, which in turn billed millions of dollars worth of the aides’ services to Medicaid. In some cases, the aides caused Medicaid to be billed for services which they were not properly certified to provide. In other cases, they provided little or no care at all.

“These individuals took advantage of a system that was ripe for abuse,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “They did so by knowingly recruiting unqualified home health aides in order to enlarge their work force and increase their fraudulent billings.”

An official with the attorney general’s office said the two men’s business had focused in part on the large demand for Russian-speaking aides in Brooklyn. In some instances, the official said, Mr. Singer and Mr. Rubenstein sent associates to recruit individuals who would purchase certificates from the schools to become home health aides.

Some aides hired by Immediate Home Care would bill as much as 24 hours in a single day, Mr. Cuomo’s investigators found, in some cases splitting their proceeds with their patients and with Mr. Singer and Mr. Rubenstein.

The company also caused Medicaid to be billed for aides who provided home care to their own relatives. Medicaid generally prohibits reimbursing aides’ services to their spouses, parents or in-laws.

According to the attorney general’s office, the company’s revenues grew from $3 million to more than $52 million between 2003 and 2006.

Mr. Cuomo’s aides have said they hope to recover as much as $100 million in fraudulent billings over the course of the attorney general’s broader investigation.

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