On December 1, 2016, founders and investors of a physician-owned health
care facility in Dallas, Texas, known as the Forest Park Medical Center, were charged in a bribery and kickback scheme. The range of felony offenses stem from their payment or receipt of roughly $40 million in bribes and kickbacks
for referring patients to Forest Park Medical Center (FPMC), according to a federal indictment in Texas federal court.
21 Took Part In Conspiracy Scheme.
The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in November 2016, identifying 21 defendants including executives, physicians
, surgeons and other individuals associated with FPMC who allegedly took part in a bribery scheme that cheated federally funded health
care programs and other insurance
plans for their personal financial gain.
The defendants named included, Forest Park co-founder of FPCM, CEO Alan Andrew Beauchamp, anesthesiologist and president of its board of directors Richard Ferdinand Toussaint, Jr., surgeon and board of directors member Wade Neal Baker, and Forest Park managing partner and investor Wilton McPherson Burt. However, there were many others involved in addition to these few. It must be remembered that those named have been charged but have not been convicted in a court of law. Often in this type of case, a defendant is acquitted or dismissed.
FPMC was an out-of-network hospital
. According to the indictment, the patients that were referred there were primarily ones with high reimbursing out-of-network private insurance
benefits or benefits under certain federally-funded programs. FPMC’s owners, managers, and employees also tried to sell patients with lower reimbursing insurance coverage
, namely Medicare
beneficiaries, to other facilities in exchange for cash.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, because FPMC is an out-of network hospital
, it is free to set its own prices, resulting in a higher reimbursement rate than in-network providers.Park Over Billed Patient's Insurance Companies.
The indictment alleges that Forest Park billed patients' insurance
plans more than half a billion dollars and collected around $200 million in paid claims from 2009 to 2013 as a result of the bribes and kickbacks
According to the DOJ, several co-defendants operated shell entities where the defendants funneled bribes and kickbacks
payments though to surgeons in exchange for referrals.
"Medical providers who enrich themselves through bribes and kickbacks
are not only perverting our critical health
care systems, but they are committing a serious crime. Massive, multifaceted schemes such as this one, built on illegal financial relationships, drive up the cost of health
care for everyone and must be stopped," said U.S. Attorney
John Parker of Texas' Northern District in a statement.
FPCM Investors Referred Patients In Return For Kickbacks.
According to the indictment, primary care physicians
who were investors in the facility and referred patients to FPCM for surgery and other specialized treatments received kickbacks
ranging anywhere from $100,000 to $7 million. Those enriched funds where used to market their own personal medical practices or for personal goods and expenses.
There were several government health
care programs that were affected by the alleged bribery scheme such as Tricare, The U.S Department of Labor's FECA health
care program, who was billed $25 million; the U.S. Department of Defense
care program, who was billed over $10 million; and federal and retirees FEHBP health
care program, who was billed over $60 million.
Each of the defendants have been charges with one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health
care bribes and kickbacks
. This gives the defendants a chance to be sentenced to five years in prison and a $250,00 fine.
Others involved in the scheme have been charged with violating the federal Travel Act and aiding and abetting a conspiracy to commit money laundering. Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.
Law Firm routinely represents pharmacists
, nurses and other health
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, inspections and audits involving the DEA
, Department of Health
) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health
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Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com
Lee, Suevon. "21 At Texas Med. Center Charged In Massive Bribery Scheme." Law360. (December 1, 2016). Web.
Krause, Kevin. "Doctor-owners, Execs of Bankrupt Forest Park Hospital
Chain Indicted In Massive Kick-back Scheme." Dallas News. (December 2, 2016). Web.
"Executives, Surgeons, Physicians
and Others Affiliated with Forest Park Medical Center (FPMC) in Dallas Indicted in Massive Conspiracy." United Stated Department of Justices. (December 2, 2016). web.
About the Author:
George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health
Law is an attorney
with The Health
Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health
Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.KeyWords:
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