Matthew Paul Brown, 30, plead guilty yesterday to a number of counts of health care fraud and criminal HIPAA violations yesterday in Federal District Court in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Brown, from November, 2009 and August, 2010 persuaded a number of physicians to bill Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance companies using their own Medicare numbers for allergy related care allegedly provided by Brown. The total amount billed was approximately 1.2 Million dollars. Brown would provide his services in physician offices or at health fairs and the physicians would pay him 50 to 85% of the charges the legitimate physicians would bill for.
Brown purchased his needles and allergy medication he used from a commercial pharmacy. He apparently did not cause injury to any patient. He created a spread sheet concerning the patients that he treated and apparently provided it to investors, one of whom turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. While the content of the spreadsheet may have contained information disclosed by the patient, if it just related to the procedures performed by Mr. Brown, who was posing as a physician, there would seem to be an interesting issue as to whether the spreadsheet contained PHI covered by HIPAA at all.
Mr. Brown plead guilty to 17 counts of health care fraud, each with a maximum sentence of 10 years, the same as the HIPAA charge. Do they include those in prison as part of the unemployment statistics or is that considered a job? Since he was probably considered employed earlier, his departure to federal prison should have no impact on the federal unemployment statistics.