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Long jail sentences for hospital crooks are right

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Evan Sweeney, writes in Hospital Impact:

“If you had any doubt that federal prosecutors are serious about bringing the hammer down on healthcare executives who oversee fraud schemes, look no further than the sentences handed down to three administrators at {Houston’s} Riverside  General Hospital.”

“Collectively, three administrators of the notoriously mismanaged hospital will be spending 115 years in prison. That includes a 45-year sentence for Riverside’s president, Earnest Gibson III, and a 40-year sentence for Mahammad Khan, the hospital’s former assistant administrator and Gibson III’s right-hand man. Gibson’s son, Earnest Gibson IV, who operated a satellite psychiatric facility linked to Riverside, will also receive 20 years for his role in a scheme that netted more than $150 million. Another administrator that operated a separate satellite location is awaiting sentencing.”

“There’s no shortage of sordid details in the multimillion-dollar theft. The three administrators worked with seven others to concoct a scheme that took advantage of mental health and drug rehab patients. The hospital billed for intensive outpatient therapy known as a partial hospitalization program (PHP) for these patients even though many of them were watching TV in place of therapy.

“Schemes of this magnitude that target federal healthcare funds are reprehensible not just in terms of stolen Medicare dollars, but in the cost to patient care. Hundreds of patients, used as pawns in the scheme, never received the mental health and drug treatment they needed. Furthermore, as a result of the scandal, Riverside was forced to surrender its substance abuse treatment license last August, effectively washing away any notable progress the hospital made in previous years.”



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