2 physicians, 1 nurse sentenced in $40M fraud scheme

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Two physicians were sentenced to a combined 23 years in prison Dec. 2 for their roles in a hospice agency scam that defrauded Medicare and Medicaid, the Justice Department said. A nurse at the hospice was also sentenced to more than two years in prison.

The three medical professionals sentenced — Mark Gibbs, MD, Laila Hirjee, MD, and Tammie Little, RN — worked at the now-defunct Novus Health Services, a hospice in Frisco, Texas. 

In May, a federal jury found Dr. Gibbs, Dr. Hirjee and Ms. Little guilty of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. According to prosecutors, the defendants helped Novus CEO Bradley Harris defraud government insurers by admitting patients who were not appropriate for hospice care and submitting false claims for these services. 

In total, prosecutors said the scheme resulted in Medicare and Medicaid paying $40 million for improper hospice services.

Dr. Gibbs was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $27.98 million in restitution. Dr. Hirjee was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $16.25 million in restitution. Ms. Little received 33 months in federal prison.

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