Consumer Health Digest #06-17
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
April 25, 2006
Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., and cosponsored by NCAHF and Quackwatch. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.
Chiropractor pleads guilty to massive insurance fraud. Douglas Henderson, D.C., of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, has pled guilty to criminal charges of insurance fraud and will be sentenced in July 2006. Henderson owned and operated the Burrell Chiropractic Clinic in the community of Lower Burrell and another business called Henderson Automotive. The criminal information document, which describes the nature of the scheme, states:
- From 1995 through 2002, Henderson and others engaged in an elaborate conspiracy in which he included patients who were not employees in Henderson Automotive's group health plan so he could submit claims in their name for services he did not actually provide.
- Cooperative patients received kickbacks such as free health insurance or payments that were concealed by recording them as business expenses such as advertising, cleaning, repairs, and professional services.
- The total amount of excessive reimbursement from the scheme was more than $7 million.
Medicare/Medicaid antifraud program will increase sharply. The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that its budget for detecting fraud will increase from $5 million this year to $60 million in 2010. The increase was allocated in this year's federal budget law (Deficit Reduction Act of 2005), which also directs the agency to implement a new Medicaid Integrity Program and to hire 100 people to work in this area—up from only eight such workers in 2005. The problem was explored at a March 28th hearing on Bolstering the Safety Net: Eliminating Medicaid Fraud before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs' Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and International Security.
Stem cell swindlers charged with fraud. Laura Brown and Stephen Mark Van Rooyen (a/k/a Mark Dehavillan) have been charged with wire fraud and al drug marketing in connection with the selling of purported stem cell treatments to at least patients suffering from ALS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and other incurable diseases. The indictment states:
- In 2002, the pair began operating under the name of Biomark International, which charged $10,000 to $35,000 per treatment, with a total of at least $1.2 million.
- The scheme was carried out by providing false and misleading information to individuals suffering from incurable diseases regarding the current state of the science of stem cell treatment.
- A Biomark information packet falsely claimed that once in the body, the cells would migrate to the site of the disease and begin producing the cells needed to replace the cells needed to restore function.
This page was posted on April 24, 2006.