A Las Vegas doctor, two nurses and a surgical technician are facing federal charges in connection with a sweeping crackdown on health care fraud announced this week by the Department of Justice.
Horace Guerra, a family medical doctor, was charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone. Authorities allege he provided presigned prescription pads to Robert Harvey, a surgical technician, and Alejandro Incera, a nurse practitioner, who wrote opioid prescriptions for patients without a legitimate medical purpose.
Incera and Leslie Kalyn, another nurse practitioner, are accused of prescribing lidocaine, modafinil, and diclofenac sodium to patients who did not need the drugs, according to a Justice Department news release. Prescriptions then were billed to Medicare or Medicaid through a pharmacy. Harvey, Incera, and Kalyn are accused of receiving cash for their patient referrals to the pharmacy.
Prosecutors claim the four racked up a total of $3.7 million in combined losses. Neither the doctor nor the others could be reached for comment.
The nationwide health care fraud crackdown included 165 doctors, nurses and other licensed professionals, and encompassed a total of 601 people charged in schemes that started in July 2017 and involved more than $2 billion in false billings, authorities said. The Justice Department called it the “largest health care fraud enforcement action” in the agency’s history.
“Health care fraud is a betrayal of vulnerable patients, and often it is theft from the taxpayer,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in the news release. “In many cases, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists take advantage of people suffering from drug addiction in order to line their pockets. These are despicable crimes.”
Nevada U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson called prescription opiod-related health care fraud “a serious problem.”
“Doctors who violate their oath to ‘do no harm’ by illegally prescribing opioids for no medical necessity or file fraudulent health care bills will be held accountable,” she vowed.