Ohio Doctor charged with Medicare conspiracy targeting Washington residents

 An Ohio Doctor has been charged in a fraudulent medical supply scheme that targeted elderly Washington residents.

Thomas Andrew Webster, M.D., 50, of Sylvania, Ohio was charged with one count of Conspiracy to Violate the Anti-Kickback Statue by targeting elderly Medicare and TRICARE beneficiaries throughout Washington and other states, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington's Office.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.

“Telemarketing schemes that target and exploit the elderly are especially pernicious because they prey on those who are often most in need of a doctor’s independent judgment that is not tainted or biased by the doctor’s own personal financial interest,” said U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref.

Medicare and TRICARE provide health insurance coverage for eligible health care services, including, under certain eligibility conditions, for Durable Medical Equipment (DME).

DME is eligible for reimbursement if it is ordered by a physician who is treating the beneficiary for a specific illness or injury.

Between May 2021 and September 2023, Dr. Webster lived in Olympia, Washington and was a licensed physician in the state.

According to the press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Webster engaged in a telemarketing scheme to obtain beneficiary identifying and medical information by using telemarketers to contact Medicare and TRICARE beneficiaries in the Eastern District of Washington 

Dr. Webster then used the information to create fake medical records that reflected a doctor visit that never took place, and medical orders for DME.

Dr. Webster then signed the fraudulent medical documentation and physician orders, which were then sold to DME companies that used the orders to bill Medicare and TRICARE falsely and fraudulently, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

Medicare and TRICARE reportedly paid more than $13.7 million in fraudulent DME orders over the two years of the scheme, with Dr. Webster receiving $839,565 from Medicare and TRICARE for fraudulent telemedicine visits that never took place.

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