Ambulance officials charged in $1.9M Medicare fraud

Posted: June 28, 2014

The U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia charged the owners and manager of Life Support Corp., a Bucks County ambulance company, in a $1.9 million Medicare fraud.

Those charged Thursday in the 12-count indictment were brothers Nazariy Kmet, 35, of Jamison, and Bogdan Kmet, 30, of Warminster, who owned Life Support. Their cousin, a company manager, Rostislav Kmet, 26, of Philadelphia, was also charged.

The defendants were arrested Thursday morning and made initial court appearances in the afternoon. One was released on bail, one on recognizance, and one was held, at least overnight, while officials contacted his probation office on an open matter, said Patty Hartman, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The indictment of Life Support, which transported patients from May 2010 through December 2012, is the eighth of a Philadelphia-area ambulance company since 2011. Life Support, with five ambulances, operated first out of Huntingdon Valley and then Feasterville and collected $1.2 million from Medicare in 2012.

As in other cases, prosecutors alleged that Life Support knowingly provided ambulance rides to Medicare beneficiaries that were not medically necessary. The company allegedly paid kickbacks ranging from $200 to $500 a month to patients to keep their business, paid third parties for patients, did not collect the co-pays required by Medicare, and sometimes transported patients in cars.

Life Support targeted lucrative kidney-dialysis patients, who need three round trips a week for treatment, the indictment said. That transportation can add up to $60,000 a year per patient, according to a statement this week by the Ambulance Association of Pennsylvania.

In a separate ambulance-reimbursement case involving Penn Choice Ambulance Inc., which operated out of Huntingdon Valley and Camp Hill, Pa., Mikhail Vasserman, 51, of Philadelphia, on Thursday received a five-year prison term. U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sánchez ordered Vasserman to pay restitution of $1.7 million.

Restitution in the eight criminal cases has reached $20 million, according to court records.



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