Dr. Jonathan Agbebiyi, a Detroit-area gynecologist, has been sentenced to five years in prison and $3 million restitution for a scam that involved billing Medicare approximately $6.7 million for unnecessary neurological tests administered by untrained personnel. The Detroit Free Press article below says the scam was worth $5.4 million, but the FBI says it was $6.7 million. I’m going with the FBI number on this one.
The articles I found simply said the neurological tests “…involved sending an electrical current through the arms and legs of the patients.” I don’t know if the tests were EMGs or nerve conduction studies or something else.
The patients involved in the scam were not referred to Dr. Agbeyiyi; rather, he enticed patients to come to his clinics with cash, fast food and prescriptions for controlled substances, according to the FBI.
Paying patients to participate in health care fraud schemes is not unusual, unfortunately. Mohammad Khan, a hospital administrator for Riverside Hospital in Houston TX, recently admitted he paid patients with food, coupons and cigarettes to enroll in a psychiatric program that billed Medicare
Dr. Agbeyiyi was found guilty by a federal jury on May 11, 2012. By that time, nine people involved in the scam had been convicted.
I did a little looking around, and, according to the Federal Register, there is a Dr. Jonathan Agbeyiyi who lost his Arizona medical license in January 1994 and then subsequently lost his DEA license. I have no way of knowing whether the two individuals are the same, but I would imagine there is a good chance they are.
Additionally, if he was enticing patients to come to his clinic with prescriptions for controlled substances, and the two Dr. Agbeyiyis are the same man, then he presumably got his DEA license back, or else he would have likely been prosecuted for prescribing narcotics without a license.
There is also a website for a Dr. Jonathan Agbeyiyi in Southfield, MI (a suburb of Detroit) that details his interests in holistic medicine.
A gynecologist from Sterling Heights is going to prison for five years for his role in a $5.4-million Medicare fraud scheme that relied on recruiting patients with prescription bills, cash and fast food, and billing the government for neurological tests that were medically unnecessary.
In some cases, the tests involved sending electrical currents through the arms and legs of the recruited patients, who had no legitimate purpose for getting the tests, prosecutors said.
The physician, Jonathan Agbebiyi, 63, who worked at three Livonia clinics, also was ordered to pay nearly $3 million in restitution by U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow at his sentencing Tuesday. Following a lengthy FBI investigation, a federal jury convicted Agbebiyi in May of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six counts of health care fraud.
According to the U.S. Attorneys Office, between 2007 and 2010, Agbebiyi was a staff physician at three Livonia clinics: Blessed Medical Clinic, Alpha and Omega Medical Clinic and Manuel Medical Clinic.
According to evidence presented at trial, Agbebiyi billed Medicare for medically unnecessary diagnostic tests that were administered by unqualified and untrained clinic employees. The patients never received follow up treatment by neurologists, prosecutors said.
Evidence at trial also showed that the patients were not referred to the clinics by their primary care physicians – or for any other legitimate purpose – but rather were recruited with prescriptions for controlled substances, cash payments and fast food. The three clinics then billed the Medicare program for various diagnostic tests.
“This doctor exposed patients to electrical currents for neurological testing solely to generate money for himself at the expense of the Medicare program,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said. “We hope that cases like this one will deter other doctors from using patients as commodities for personal gain.”
Agbebiyi’s case was part of the federal government’s Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations, which have charged more than 1,330 defendants nationwide since 2007 with falsely billing Medicare for more than $4 billion.