A podiatrist is also known as a podiatric physician, or more commonly, a foot doctor. Devoted to the treatment of ailments involving the foot, ankle and related leg areas, practitioners of podiatric medicine employ a number of solutions to help their patients. Foot baths are among them. According to Foot.com, soaking and cleansing your feet in hot water reduces inflammation and stimulates circulation, bringing congested blood to the dilated vessels in the feet and lower legs.
“Soaking your feet in a bath of hot water does more than just relax and soothe your body,” the website informs, “Foot soaks also have the power to alleviate symptoms from colds and flu, to abdominal pain and more.” Carey “Craig” Williams is a Mississippi-based podiatrist. Apparently, he found other ways to benefit from foot baths.
Williams has been charged with fraud.
As reported by The United Stated Department of Justice this week, the 63-year old has been charged by a federal grand jury in Oxford, Mississippi. The indictment was returned on October 27. Williams is alleged to have concocted a scheme that defrauded health care benefit programs, including Medicare.
Allegedly, Williams prescribed and dispensed medically unnecessary medications. He is also accused of ordering medically unnecessary testing, including in exchange for kickbacks and bribes. According to the indictment, Williams regularly prescribed antibiotic and antifungal drugs to be mixed into a tub of warm water for patients to soak their feet.
Williams owned and operated North Mississippi Foot Specialists P.C.
Serving as his podiatry clinic, the facility also included an in-house pharmacy. The “drug cocktails” prescribed by Williams, at this clinic, often included capsules and creams that were not medically indicated to be dissolved in water. Apparently, they were often chosen because of their anticipated reimbursement amount and not medical necessity.
“The indictment also alleges that Williams ordered medically unnecessary molecular diagnostic testing to be performed on his patients’ toenail clippings, including testing for the bacteria that causes ‘cat scratch disease,’ which is unlikely to be found in a toenail,” details the DoJ report, “In addition, the indictment alleges that Williams solicited and received cash kickbacks from a marketer in exchange for referring prescriptions for foot bath medications and referring biological specimens and testing orders to pharmacies and laboratories.”
Williams allegedly submitted over $4.9 million in false and fraudulent claims.
He is accused of running his scheme between approximately July 2016 and July 2021. The false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, during that time span, were for expensive foot bath medications that were not medically necessary. However, between approximately January 2018 and April 2021, Williams also allegedly caused a diagnostic laboratory to submit more than $6.4 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. These were for medically unnecessary molecular diagnostic testing.
“Williams is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud; seven counts of health care fraud; one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to offer, pay, solicit, and receive kickbacks; and two counts of soliciting and receiving kickbacks,” explains the DoJ.
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