Robert Lowes – April 27, 2017
A southern California practice management company called Monarch Medical Group used to advertise that it could provide physicians with new revenue streams from transdermal pain creams, oral medication dispensing, and urine drug-screening tests.
Those revenue streams could lead to prison for 21 physicians charged in a California state court last week with fraudulently billing workers’ compensation insurers for these ancillary services and accepting kickbacks for patient referrals. It was all part of a scheme allegedly masterminded by Tanya King and her husband, Christopher King, owners of Monarch Medical Group and related companies, according to state prosecutors and the California Department of Insurance (CDI).
The Kings also were charged in the case, as were two pharmacists who owned a pharmacy and a physician assistant.
“The Kings and their co-conspirators played with patients’ lives, buying and selling them for profit without regard to patient safety,” said CDI Commissioner Dave Jones in a news release.
From 2011 to 2015, the operation fraudulently billed insurers for $40 million and collected more than $23 million for services rendered to some 13,000 patients. The 21 physicians netted almost $2.2 million in kickbacks, which were labelled as marketing expenses to make them look legitimate, prosecutors said. The average age of the physicians was 57.
Buy for $40, Bill for $700
The scams alleged by prosecutors were based on the three ancillary services that Monarch Medical Group advertised on its website.