Quantcast

Norwalk clinicians settle false claims charge inspired by massage therapy

NORWALK, Conn. – This is a press release, presented in the format in which it was sent:

 

NORWALK MEDICAL PRACTICE, CEO AND PHYSICAN PAY $650,830 TO SETTLE FALSE CLAIMS ACT ALLEGATIONS

 

            John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that WORLD HEALTH CLINICIANS, INC. (“WHC”), its Chief Executive Officer, SCOTT GRETZ, and a physician formerly employed by WHC, DR. GARY BLICK, have entered into a civil settlement agreement with the federal and state governments in which they will pay $650,830 to resolve allegations that they violated the federal and state False Claims Acts.

WHC is a medical practice located in Norwalk specializing in the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients and sexually transmitted infections.  GRETZ is the CEO of WHC.  BLICK worked at WHC from the inception of the practice in 2011, until he left the practice in 2016.  Prior to working at WHC, BLICK had his own medical practice specializing in the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients.

The government alleges that WHC, BLICK and GRETZ submitted false claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs by billing for physical therapy services and certain office visit services that were not provided.  Instead of receiving physical therapy or office visit services, Medicare and Medicaid patients seen at the practice received massages provided by a massage therapist.  Those services were billed to Medicare and Medicaid as if the patients had, in fact, received physical therapy services and office visit services.

Medicare does not recognize massage therapists as providers and expressly prohibits massage therapists from enrolling in the Medicare program.  Under Connecticut law, massage therapists may not provide physical therapy, as physical therapy is expressly excluded from a massage therapist’s scope of practice.  In addition, a massage therapist is not qualified to provide office visit services.

To resolve the allegations under the federal and state False Claims Acts, WHC, BLICK and GRETZ have agreed to pay $650,830, which covers conduct occurring from January 1, 2007, through September 30, 2015.  Pursuant to their agreement with the government, WHC and GRETZ will pay $361,013.77 and BLICK will pay $289,816.23.

            “We expect that medical practices and physicians who participate in federal health care programs will bill for their services accurately and honestly,” said U.S. Attorney Durham. “The U.S. Attorney’s office in Connecticut is committed to vigorously pursuing health care providers who submit false claims to federal health care programs.”

            This matter was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard M. Molot and by Assistant Attorney General Gregory O’Connell of the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General.

            People who suspect health care fraud are encouraged to report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS or the Health Care Fraud Task Force at (203) 777-6311.

 

A press release is an announcement drafted by an organization to publicize its news. NancyOnNorwalk takes no responsibility for the content of this press release.

 

 

 

 

3 comments

John Levin April 12, 2018 at 9:01 am

Medicare and Medicaid fraud from 2007 to 2015? Settled for $650k? But the cryptic press release fails to identify whether that payment is for restitution, or is a fine – so one could reasonably surmise it is only the former only. Imagine if a poor black or brown person steals a fraction of that amount – there would be prison time, wouldn’t there? Can we hear “white privilege”? Yes, lots of facts are missing, but you know what I mean.

Rick April 13, 2018 at 12:43 am

Building for sale $4,071,613 11,200 SF

The Tenant has 10+ Years Remaining on the Original 16-Year Lease Term.

Approximately 139,600 People Live within a 5-Mile Radius of the Property with an Average Household Income of Approximately $135,300.

The World Health Clinician’s On-Site Pharmacy did Over $14.4 Million in Sales in 2016, an Exceptional $1,283 Per Square Foot in Sales.

US Hwy 7 Union Park S, N 63,300 2016 0.15 mi
West Ave Leonard St, S 16,900 2011 0.15 mi
Van Buren Ave Maple St, S 15,200 2016 0.19 mi
Harbor Ave Merwin St, N 2,600 2011 0.21 mi
Butler St Crescent St, W 2,600 2011 0.24 mi

collection st

Traffic volume is it the same as the city gave? why they used 2011?

Your right John they left a lot out.

Donna Smirniotopoulos April 13, 2018 at 9:00 am

These comments relate to the press release and not additional detail provided by Rick above. Allegations were made. Rather than proceed to trial, the CEO and clinician agreed to a settlement to resolve the conflict. Services WERE provided. But Medicare does not recognize massage therapy. So the practice billed for physical therapy. I am not condoning what WHC did or suggesting that PT and massage are equivalents, though in my own experience alternative therapies have been as effective as PT. Not only is this settlement not reflective of “white privilege”, in my opinion, “white privilege” is a fallacy and a refashioned marxist concept of “oppressor-oppressed”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>