Yesterday, we brought you the story of a nationwide round up of Medicare fraudsters that picked up 11 in New Orleans. Interestingly, one of those picked up is a former BESE member.
Louella Givens was on BESE until 2011 when she was defeated in her reelection bid. She was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s office with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, and violating the anti-kickback statue.
The criminal complaint alleges that Givens’s company, Maxima Companies, was billing Medicare for home health services that weren’t actually necessary. What she did is that she had a doctor’s office certify that patients needed home health care who actually weren’t eligible for it. The doctor involved is now cooperating with the Feds and the Feds that someone in his office was receiving kickbacks from Givens for making the bogus referrals. Givens was able to swindle $300,000 from Medicare as a result.
Givens also used a second doctor, referred to as Physician G in the indictment, to write more bogus referrals for Medicare home health care services. The Feds interview “patients” of Physician G and they didn’t recognize him. Givens pocketed more than $1.3 million from this doctor’s referrals.
The Feds found that 64% of Givens’s referrals came from just five physicians. Four of those five have already been indicted and convicted of Medicare fraud. The total from those five were a little over $1.5 million. Givens also submitted 88 claims for services provided after the patients had died.
This isn’t the first time that Givens has been in trouble with the law. While she was on BESE, she was charged with drunk driving in February 2011. She also had a $1.3 million IRS lien placed on her house for not paying the income tax withholdings of her employees. Finally, she was under investigation by the Louisiana Board of Ethics for campaign finance violations related to her last race.
When Louisiana politicians go bad, it tarnishes our entire state. There is also nothing more despicable than stealing healthcare from our senior citizens. If these charges are true, hopefully the Feds will throw the book at Louella Givens.