A urine test can be requested by a doctor for various reasons. For example, the results from such a test help to determine whether or not one has a urinary tract infection (UTI). Also known as a urinalysis, a urine test can also check the treatments of such conditions as diabetes, kidney stones, high blood pressure (hypertension) and some kidney or liver diseases.
“Urinalysis detects cells, cell fragments, or certain substances, like crystals, protein, or glucose (sugar), in your urine,” explains Cleveland Clinic, “These substances point to a possible problem, like a urinary tract infection or diabetes. Your doctor may perform additional testing if your urine contains cell fragments or other elements not typically found there. Some of these substances, like glucose, may appear in your urine before you know there is a problem.”
Sadly, urine tests have also been conducted for fraudulent purposes.
Texas-based physicians, Robert Wills and Brannon Frank are accused of being perpetrators of such fraud. As reported by the United States Department of Justice last week, the two doctors have agreed to pay a total of $3.9 million to resolve allegations related to unnecessary tests.
According to the DoJ, Wills and Frank knowingly billed Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE for medically unnecessary urine drug testing. The duo once owned Austin Pain Associates in Austin, Texas. The now-defunct clinic is suspected as the location where the doctors submitted false claims to the federal healthcare programs, starting in 2011.
Wills and Frank allegedly ordered and performed unnecessary urine drug testing.
The two doctors were accused of ordering and performing excessive and unnecessary urine drug testing for patients without any individualized assessment of clinical need. It is alleged that the pair drafted the testing protocols that resulted in unnecessary tests. The two doctors are accused of knowing that their in-house laboratory was conducting an excessive number of tests on urine samples.
Without the urine tests, it is believed, Austin Pain Associates could not remain profitable. The $3.9 million settlement to resolve the claims will be split between the two accused. “Pursuant to their respective settlement agreements, Wills has agreed to pay $2,100,000 to settle these allegations and Frank has agreed to pay $1,800,000,” the DoJ reports.
Medical services should be about patient care, not profits.
“The provision of medical services should be based on a patient’s medical needs, not on a physician’s desire to increase profits,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division is quoted as saying in the DoJ report, “The Department of Justice is committed to taking appropriate action to safeguard the integrity of federal healthcare programs and the welfare of their beneficiaries.”
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff for the Western District of Texas added the following: “Physicians who bill taxpayer-funded health programs for expensive and medically unnecessary drug tests increase the cost of healthcare for all of us. We will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute allegations of false claims submitted to Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE and any other government health program.”
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