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Be wary of unintentional mistakes that lead to Medicare fraud

At times, small oversights and not fully understanding the regulations can lead to serious consequences. This best describes Medicare fraud cases where a medical practitioner can face charges even though there was no intent to defraud in the first place. To avoid such complications, Louisiana residents are advised to pay close attention to common mistakes that often lead to fraud charges.

Medical practitioners are often on-call and busy. Thus, they can fail to renew their licenses but continue to practice. While this seems like an innocent practice, it can get them charged with fraud. Billing with an expired license, even between renewals, is prohibited. Another mistake involves close supervision. If a health care practitioner is not in the same room, building or available by phone while providing treatment, he or she can be deemed as not providing proper supervision. An improper supervision, in the eyes of the law, could mean not providing service at all.

A doctor can also face allegations if a patient fails to receive the intended medication that was billed as well. The same can be said if a billing clerk incorrectly assumes that a health care provider already performed services.

Surprisingly, a bit of goodwill can also get one in trouble. Providing underprivileged patients with food coupons or food can haunt medical practitioners. Programs that offer regular incentives can be misinterpreted as a form of inducement or bribe. Working too quickly can also be misinterpreted. While a practitioner will see it as plain efficiency, it can be misconstrued as providing inadequate service for a specified amount of time.

Health care practitioners should be hands-on when it comes to billing. Sloppy management often leads to these mistakes. If charges have been filed however, guidance from a criminal law professional can prove invaluable for a Calcasieu Parish medical practitioner.

Source: Health Leaders Media, "6 Ways to Avoid Unintentional Medicare Fraud," Greg Freeman, Jan. 30, 2014

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