Medicare Fraud Is Alleged Over Tests

Posted: August 04, 1989

Two companies that performed hearing tests have been charged with Medicare fraud after allegedly soliciting social workers at senior citizens' centers to set up group screening tests, federal prosecutors said yesterday.

The firms, Geri-Care Inc. and Mobile Audio Inc., and two Geri-Care officers, Michael and Lori Koffler of Long Island City, N.Y., sent mobile vans to the centers and had a physician examine patients and order numerous tests, prosecutors said.

A civil complaint alleges that in virtually every case, the physician did not review the tests or use the results. It also says the defendants added information to the forms to obtain Medicare payments.

More than 3,000 Medicare patients were tested. The companies, which operated out of Bala Cynwyd, submitted $1 million in claims between 1984 and 1988 and recovered $600,000, according to the complaint. Prosecutors said yesterday that a portion of the claims was made fraudulently.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James G. Sheehan, chief of the civil division, said Geri-Care, which is now defunct, performed audiological tests from 1984 to 1986. The company was sold in 1986 to Mobile Audio, which used its name as well as Geri-Care's and allegedly continued the fraudulent testing, Sheehan said.

Sheehan said screening costs are paid by Medicare when a personal physician has examined a patient and sees a legitimate need for testing. He said the two firms, however, were testing patients without determining need.

|
|
|
|
|