Another example of what's wrong with government running programs.

Houston docs defraud Medicare for $97M with patients 'watching TV, coloring'

By Sarah Westwood | January 14, 2015 | 12:15 pm

Photo - The owners of a Houston mental health clinic billed Medicare for treatments that weren't needed or performed. (iStock Photo) The owners of a Houston mental health clinic billed Medicare for treatments that weren't needed...

A pair of Houston doctors each face a decade or more in federal prison for their roles in a Medicare fraud scheme that netted nearly $100 million.

Mansour Sanjar and Cyrus Sajadi, co-owners of a Houston, Texas, mental health clinic called Spectrum Care P.A., signed off on fraudulent records seeking reimbursement for treatments and services not covered by Medicare, according to the Department of Justice. Some of the patients didn’t even need such treatment, officials said.

The two doctors billed Medicare for providing outpatient services to patients with severe mental illnesses when those supposedly receiving the treatments were actually “watching movies, coloring and playing games,” the DOJ said.

Between 2006 and 2011, Spectrum defrauded Medicare for $97 million by filing claims for services that weren’t needed and, in some cases, were never performed. A federal judge ordered Sanjar and Sajadi to pay more than $8 million in restitution.

In addition, Chandra Nunn, owner of a local group home, accepted kickbacks in exchange for sending patients from her facility to Spectrum. She was also cited for her role as a “patient recruiter” in the Spectrum scheme. She faces four and a half years in prison and must repay nearly $2 million.

Justice Department officials credited the Medicare Fraud Strike Force with bringing forward the fraud ring investigation. The force, which includes the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general and the FBI, has charged more than 2,000 suspects who have together defrauded the government by more than $6 billion since the strike force was created in 2007.

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Sarah Westwood

Watchdog Reporter
The Washington Examiner

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