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Optometry Practice Settles Fraud Case

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It will pay $16K in fines.

Brunswick Eye Care Associates will pay will pay $16,343 to the federal government and Maine to settle allegations that it committed civil health care fraud.

The practice was accused of submitting false claims to Medicare, TRICARE, the Department of Veterans Affairs and MaineCare from 2014 through 2016, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine.

At issue was the fact that the practice employed a person who had previously been convicted of stealing drugs while employed as a pharmacy technician. She had, as a result of the conviction, been “excluded” from federal healthcare programs and MaineCare, according to the release.

The practice billed and received reimbursement from the government programs “and then improperly used a portion of the funds received from these programs to pay the salary and benefits” of the employee, according to the release. 

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Brunswich failed to ask the employee whether she had been excluded from such programs, and it did not check publicly available databases, according to the release.

The release notes: “Federal health care programs may not pay, directly or indirectly, for items or services furnished, ordered, or prescribed by excluded individuals or entities. This prohibition extends to administrative and clerical personnel, and is not limited to health care providers.”

 

 

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