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News Briefs: January 20, 2020

The HHS Office of Inspector General has updated its Work Plan,[1] which includes an item on early discharges from inpatient rehabilitation facilities to home health.

A psychiatrist from Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for cheating Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and other health care benefits programs out of $450,000, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said[2] Jan. 16. Starting in 2013, Udaya Shetty billed for services that were on average 41 to 63 minutes long, but he actually only saw patients for five to 10 minutes. He overbilled at his own practice, Behavioral & Neuropsychiatric Group, and when it closed in 2017, Shetty joined another practice and engaged in a similar scheme with the help of an employee, Mary Otto, who he brought with him. The new practice was unaware of the wrongdoing. “The fraud became apparent when investigators discovered that on dozens of instances Shetty would need more than 24 hours a day of working to perform the services for which he billed,” the U.S. attorney’s office said. Shetty also settled related False Claims Act[3] allegations for more than $1 million. Otto was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

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