The Fraudulent Scheme
To commit Medicare and Medicaid fraud, Mr. Harris had to get around the problem of not being a licensed physician. So, he had Drs. Gibbs, Hirjee, and a Dr. Charles Leach, leave him blank controlled substance prescriptions. Mr. Harris would then “prescribe” these prescriptions. This practice is known as the unlawful practice of medicine.
Mr. Harris also got other companies in on his scheme. In 2014, he realized that he could avoid exceeding the Medicare aggregate hospice cap. The hospice cap limits the number of days of inpatient care for which a hospice can bill Medicare to no more than a certain percent of “total Medicare days.” Mr. Harris got around the cap by enrolling a fresh batch of first-time hospice patients. He entered into an agreement with a company called Express Medical that allowed him, in violation of the HIPAA regulations, to access potential patient PHI. In return for enabling this theft, Express Medical let him recruit prior and current patients for Novus “laboratory services and home health visits.” The individuals were recruited regardless of their benefit eligibility.
As a result of Mr. Harris’ fraudulent activities, a number of terminally ill patients were left unexamined. In some cases, the deaths arrived too slowly for Mr. Harris’ liking: One nurse claimed she was following his orders when she drugged two patients to hasten their deaths. Among the evidence against Mr. Harris was a text message that Harris allegedly sent the nurse about a patient, stating, “he better not make it tomorrow. Or I will blame u.”
“Mr. Harris scammed federal healthcare programs out of millions of dollars, and worse yet, denied vulnerable patients the medical oversight they deserved, writing pain prescript