Monday, September 23, 2013

Owners of At Home VNA and their partner charged with scamming Medicare

A Natick man and his Everett business partner scammed more than $27 million from Medicare over six years, federal authorities allege in a sweeping indictment unsealed Friday.
Michael J. Galatis, 62, of Natick, and Janice Troisi, 64, of Everett, owners of At Home VNA of Waltham, are charged with health care fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and aiding and abetting, according to the U.S. District Court indictment.
Galatis was arrested at his home by federal authorities Friday at 6:48 a.m. It was unclear when and where Troisi was arrested.
According to the affidavit, Galatis and Troisi, along with a number of unnamed conspirators, worked together to defraud Medicare. The indictment said company nurses, under the orders of Galatis and Troisi, would run "wellness clinics" at senior housing centers and other types of assisted-living facilities with the goal of finding people on Medicare.
They would then arrange for home health care to be provided by At Home VNA, claiming that the patients were homebound so Medicare would pay. However, according to the indictment, the patients weren’t homebound. The scam began in January 2006 and continued through October 2012.
The indictment alleges that Galatis and Troisi falsified nursing visit reports to make it appear like the patients received skilled nursing services that were not needed or provided.
Galatis and Troisi also "discouraged" visiting nurses from discharging patients, even if the patients requested they stop. They would retaliate against nurses who recommended discharge and transfer the patient to another nurse, the indictment said.
In all, the company scammed millions from Medicare, the indictment said.
"In all, during the course of the conspiracy, AHVNA (At Home VNA) submitted more than $27 million in false and fraudulent home health claims to Medicare," the indictment said.
In addition, the indictment said Galatis laundered nearly $700,000 from his company to his own personal bank account, which he used to buy his home at 25 Indian Rock, Natick, and to pay off the mortgage for the home.
Authorities are looking to seize money in both Galatis' account and At Home VNA, the indictment said.
Both Galatis and Troisi appeared in federal court on Friday. Troisi was released on $25,000 bond. Galatis will be held in custody over the weekend because his $50,000 bond cannot be posted until Monday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice said.

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