Wednesday, August 8, 2007

More than $570,000....fraudulent billing scheme

July 27, 2007 Web Tools: [print] [email]

Doctor accused of defrauding government programs of $570,000

By The Associated Press

ELKINS -- A doctor is accused of obtaining more than $570,000 from federal and state health care programs through a fraudulent billing scheme.

A federal grand jury in Elkins indicted Dr. John C. Sharp, 67, last week on 30 counts of defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and the state's Workers' Compensation system between May 1998 and January 2006.

Sharp, an osteopath, operates Pocahontas County Medical Clinic, which has facilities in Marlinton and Green Bank.

Sharp is charged with 10 counts of falsifying the times of office visits with patients so that he could claim reimbursements at higher rates for longer visits. He also is charged with failing to document the visits' times.

He allegedly obtained $258,491.40 from Medicare, Medicaid and the Workers' Compensation system through this scheme.

Another 10 counts allege that Sharp submitted claims for office visit services that were higher than what was actually provided to patients. Medicare and Medicaid paid a total $311,943.06 for these claims.

Sharp also faces 10 counts of submitting claims for office visits that never occurred.

The frequency of the claims significantly exceeded the frequency of similar claims submitted by other doctors, the indictment said.

Sharp is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 7.

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