There is certainly no shortage of health care fraud incidents in the United States. As the Allegiant Experts Blog has made evident, each and every week, we have a wide selection of stories to choose from. Generally speaking, our blog only covers one story per week and it never ceases to amaze us just how unruly so many medical professionals can be.
Just yesterday, we caught wind of a guilty plea from a durable medical equipment company owner who defrauded Medicaid of more than $9.4 million. As reported by the United States Department of Justice, 72 year-old, Waveney Blackman of Bowie, Maryland pleaded guilty to a federal charge of health care fraud that made her nearly $10 million richer.
Blackman independently owned and operated D.C.-based WaveCare Health Services, LLC.
Also referred to as WaveCare Healthcare Services LLC, the company provided durable medical equipment as well as medical supplies for wound care and incontinence. As the chief executive officer of WaveCare, Blackman had her company become a Medicaid provider in 2008, enabling her to offer her equipment and supplies to Medicaid beneficiaries.
As the Department of Justice report details, Blackman submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid for equipment and supplies that she knew were neither purchased by nor provided to any of her Medicaid beneficiaries. She executed her scheme between January 2010 and June 2016, sending and causing her employees to send false and fraudulent invoices to a biller that was engaged by WaveCare. Those invoices were then sent off to Medicaid.
In total, Blackman submitted approximately $9.8 billion worth of false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid.
And she obtained nearly all of it: $9,431,979.00 to be exact. Blackman made sure to enjoy her illegally obtained income as she purchased numerous properties throughout Florida and Maryland. She also bought a Mercedes Benz with the money she bilked Medicaid out of.
Blackman’s guilty plea, this past Wednesday, is just one of many that have been obtained through charges that were filed as part of the nation’s largest ever health care fraud enforcement action. As the Department of Justice explains, “the various enforcement actions involved 601 charged defendants across 58 federal districts, including 165 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving more than $2 billion in false billings.”
They also note that of those charged, 162 defendants, including 76 doctors, were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics. Blackman was charged with her crimes on June 26 of this year, two days before Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar III announced the results of the nationwide effort. Blackman’s sentencing is scheduled for October 18.
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