The importance of hearing aids might be obvious. However, it shouldn’t be understated. Those with hearing impairments rely on hearing aids to improve their lives via the amplification of sound. Hearing aids are designed with mini-microphones that pick up sounds from the environment. They have amplifiers that increase the volume of the sounds as well as speakers that deliver the amplified sounds into ears.
Hearing aids are especially useful for seniors. Naturally, many older adults contend with hearing impairments and utilize hearing aids to help them navigate through daily life. Hearing aids are often considered instrumental in improving the quality of life for individuals with hearing problems. They help people stay connected with loved ones, participate more fully in social activities, remain engaged in their work and enjoy richer auditory experiences overall.
Hearing aid dealer sentenced to four years in prison.
As reported by the District of Connecticut branch of the U.S. Attorney's Office yesterday, 54 year-old, Dennis Dellaghelfa received a 48-month prison term for health care fraud. The sentence also includes three years of supervised release. Both court documents and statements made in court confirmed that Dellaghelfa is a licensed hearing instrument specialist. He is also the owner of General Hearing, a hearing aid dealer based in Waterbury, Connecticut.
General Hearing has been a participating provider enrolled in the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program (CTMAP) since 2013. CTMP is a Connecticut Department of Social Services-administered program. It provides medical assistance to low income persons. CTMAP’s benefit packages are referred to as “HUSKY” or “Connecticut Medicaid”. They are jointly funded by the State of Connecticut and the federal government.
Dellaghelfa submitted false and fraudulent claims.
The U.S. Attorney's Office reports that between approximately June 2016 and April 2022, Dellaghelfa submitted, or caused to be submitted, false and fraudulent claims for payment for services and equipment that were not provided or were medically unnecessary. They include claims made to Connecticut Medicaid in November of 2018. They were for services provided to six patients during a period of time that Dellaghelfa was traveling outside the U.S.
“In 2019 and 2020, some of the fraudulent claims involved services that were purportedly provided by his three employees,” details the report, “However, Dellaghelfa knew that the employees performed hearing tests without having the required professional permit, and submitted paperwork for hearing tests and services that did not occur or were not medically necessary.”
Dellaghelfa also paid third-party “patient recruiters”.
Dellaghelfa also violated the CTMAP provider agreement by paying recruiters. Their jobs were to bring Medicaid patients to General Hearing for hearing tests they could fail so that they could receive hearing aids. As well, Dellaghelfa submitted false claims to Connecticut Medicaid for testing and hearing aids for five of the patient recruiters who did not need hearing aids.
Dellaghelfa must report to prison on October 10. He is currently released on bond. In addition to his sentence, Dellaghelfa has been ordered to pay restitution of $6,141,857 to the Connecticut Medicaid program. He also agreed to forfeit $332,675 held in personal and business bank accounts.
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