According to 18 USC § 1347, anyone convicted of defrauding, or attempting to defraud, a health care benefit program faces fines and possible incarceration, which could even result in a life sentence if death resulted from the deception. Former physical therapist assistant Patricia J. Boshears of Knoxville, Tennessee recently pled guilty to violating this statute, according to a press release from the U.S. District Attorney's Office.
The press release states that Boshears formerly owned, managed, and worked as a physical therapy assistant at Total Rehab, Inc. in Knoxville, Tennessee. After an investigation by the Office of Inspector General, Health and Human Services Division, Boshears acknowledged deliberately filing false claims in an attempt defraud Medicare for patient services that did not qualify for reimbursement. In order for claims to qualify for Medicare reimbursement, all patient services must be provided by either a licensed physical therapist or under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist. However, from June 2009 to October 2010, Boshears and other Total Rehab, Inc. employees operated unlicensed and without supervision resulting in Medicare incurring losses of $68,096.27.
Boshears now faces a possible 10-year prison sentence as well as financial liability for restitution, forfeiture, and other fines. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 17, 2012 before the Honorable Thomas W. Phillips.