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Robert B. Vogel, MD, JD
Retinal Ophthalmologist at Piedmont Eye Center, Lynchburg VA;
Attorney, Overbey Hawkins & Wright, PLLS, Lynchburg, VA;
Adjunct Professor, Humanities and Bioethics, Liberty University School of Medicine, Lynchburg, VA.
A federal district court judge from the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the United States government in a False Claims Act case against former home health company Dynamic Visions, awarding the government $1.98 million.
Dynamic provided elderly and disabled patients in the DC area with assistance in daily activities. Since the Medicaid program is partially financed by the federal government, the case could be brought by the United States under the federal FCA.
The case began in 2008 when the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began investigating Dynamic after a routine audit showed irregularities in billing and collections. One reason the investigation was so protracted was that the company’s owner, Isaiah Bongam, obstructed the discovery of the falsified records, according to court documents. The court also found that Bongam transferred money from the Dynamic accounts to other business and personal accounts after the investigation started.
The government alleged that the Dynamic patient files did not contain the appropriate physician authorizations for the services rendered. Care plans were either missing completely from the patient record or had been falsified by Dynamic, according to court documents.
The damages were assessed at almost $500,000; however, the court has the power to triple the damages based on the facts of the case. The judge in this case decided on so-called treble damages due to Bongam’s alleged obstruction.