California Doctor Convicted in $2.8 Million Medicare Hospice Fraud Scheme

Manoj Prasad

A California doctor has been convicted by a federal jury for his participation in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud Medicare by billing for unnecessary hospice services.

Dr. John Throop, 74, was convicted of four counts of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy. If he is sentenced in May, he faces up to 10 years in prison on each charge.

From 2014 to 2016, the Arcadia physician held the position of medical director at corrupt hospice companies. Prosecutors say he faked illness to ineligible patients to get millions from Medicare.

For people who have less than six months to live, palliative care is included in Medicare’s hospice benefit. It pays a fixed daily fee to reduce barriers to compassionate treatment at the end of life.

However, some unethical providers profit by enrolling such survivors. This prevents patients from seeking treatment and deprives taxpayers.

Lawyers say Throop certificates enabled Blue Sky Hospice to claim $2.8 million. In 2015, he approved more Medicare hospice fees than any other doctor nationwide.

Instead of recruiter bribes and executive bonuses, the plan offered patient comfort. Throop meanwhile earned more than one lakh rupees at the medical director’s expense.

By some estimates, healthcare fraud costs taxpayers more than $150 billion per year. Recently the Dharamshala area has attracted special scrutiny.

According to a 2022 report, more than 80 percent of hospices had defrauded Medicare. Involved in fraudulent documents, bribes or billing strategies for fake services.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has more than 150 hospice fraud investigations ongoing, involving more than $750 million in false claims. The organization wants to increase security measures while prosecuting unethical operators.

β€œSchemes that target vulnerable people through the exploitation of vital health care programs will not be tolerated,” said Nicole Argent, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Criminal Division.

The jury’s quick guilty verdict shows that they are aware of the harm this type of fraud can cause. Prosecutors will likely push for a tougher sentence to prevent other doctors from suffering similar abuses.

Throop’s sentence comes at a time when bipartisan urgency is growing to stop wasteful Medicare scams that enrich criminals. Tighter monitoring, combined with public awareness, can protect taxpayer money and older Americans at risk.

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