Local Docs’ Medicare Billing Raises Questions


What a perfect photo for this article. (Source: Pedro Vezini/Flickr)

A recent report is raising questions about several local doctors who rank among the nation’s highest earners for Medicare claims, with many of them seeing the same patients thousands of times in just a few short months.

The doctors – occupational therapists, chiropractors and physical therapists – have been walking a quasi-legal line, sharing patients through a network in which they are seen, and billed, multiple times on the same day. One chiropractor and an occupational therapist had overlapping patients that were seen on the same day more than 11,000 times in 18 months, according to USA Today.

While referring patients to other doctors is common, a high frequency could indicated what experts call “churning” – cross-referring within a known network for financial gain and not medical need, and possibly for a kickback. The local network is also unusual because chiropractors, physical therapists and occupational therapists usually compete with one another, and would be unlikely to send referrals.

After reviewing Medicare data nationwide, USA Today found Southern Brooklyn docs stood out for their high referral rates. Here’s how they detailed the network:

The USA TODAY analysis found that six practitioners in Brooklyn all regularly saw the same patients, often treating each person dozens of times. Medicare paid the six a total of nearly $15 million in 2012, the only calendar year that payment data is publicly available. Additional practitioners also fed into and benefited from the referral network, but at smaller rates than the top half-dozen.

For example, physical therapist Wael Bakry and occupational therapist Victor Genkin, both part of the network, are the first and second biggest recipients of Medicare money in 2012 in their respective fields.

Medicare paid Bakry about $4.1 million for performing more than 184,000 procedures on 1,959 patients. Genkin brought in more than $2.3 million from seeing fewer than 1,200 patients.

According to Medicare’s data, over 18 months the two shared more than 700 clients, who saw both regularly — as many as 25 times each.

The top earning chiropractor in the nation, Brooklyn’s Alexander Khavash, was also a top referrer to Bakry and Genkin. According to the Medicare data, Bakry and Khavash shared more than 1,200 patients between them.

Often, but not always, the physical therapist and chiropractor saw patients back-to-back. One group of patients made a total of more than 17,000 visits to both doctors on the same day — an average of 13 times per patient — over an 18 month span.

The patients also regularly cycled through internist Abraham Demoz, who has used the same address as Genkin and Bakry. For example, Khavash saw 2,060 patients in 2012, according to the Medicare payment records. Demoz shared almost 1,800 of them with him over 18 months, the data show. Demoz and Genkin had about the same amount of patient overlap.

Mayura Kanekar is another Brooklyn provider who is part of the same circle.

Kanekar brought in nearly $3 million as the top Medicare-earning occupational therapist in the country in 2012. Occupational therapists work on people’s fine motor skills so they can perform daily tasks. Over the 18 months covered by Medicare’s referral data, a group of about 800 patients routinely visited both her and Khavash on the same day — seeing the two specialists back-to-back a total of 11,621 times.

None of the federal law enforcement officials USA TODAY interviewed would comment about whether any of the individuals are under investigation.

Some of those docs have also come up in other recent reports for their unusually high billing.

The USA Today report is lengthy and detailed – and a worthwhile read. Their reporters go to find the doctors at their listed medical offices, only to find abandoned storefronts or residential buildings. The look into the causes for the high rate of Medicare claims, and also address investigators’ challenges in finding and prosecuting such cases. Check it out, then feel sad.

  • JW

    I am sure fraudulent medical billing is rampant in these parts. I once came in to get a copy of a file. Never saw the doctor, wasn’t charged for anything, in and out in 5 minutes. But a couple weeks later I saw a doctor visit listed (with reason for visit listed as “sick”) on my insurance account online. Yeah, OK…

    • bagels

      Did you call the doctor’s office and ask why he submitted a fraudulent bill to the insurance company?

      • Murry

        The answer would have been “CAUSE WE CAN”

  • PCAway

    Hmm, the names of the doctors: Chinese? Hispanic? Dutch ? Oops, we aren’t allowed to say.

    • HowDeepIsTheOceana

      I don’t care what they are. I do want to know how many similar fraudulent medical professionals live in the Oceana.

      • Living in Oceana and proud

        What garbage dump you live in jealous loser impotent

        • Oceana rules the world

          Why such unhealthy obsession with Oceana ? Jealous much ????

          • Guest

            Oceana is a slightly better dump located in a dumpy neighborhood. It only seems classy relative to the surrounding neighborhood. Oceana doesn’t rule anything.

          • Oceana rules the world

            In fact it does compared to the rat-infested section 8 that most losers posting on here live in. Keep on hating

          • Your arched back suggests strongly to me that you don’t seem so secure in your success. Now why would that be?

          • Oceana is a bubble

            ..and the minute you walk out of there you’re in that ghetto called Brighton Beach 😀

          • Losers stay away from Oceana

            No one is asking to live in Oceana, not that you can afford to anyways. I think the Stillwell loop is more of your forte.

          • Oceana Is For Losers

            I don’t hate, I feel sorry for uneducated saps like you who think you live someplace special. You’re like those guys in the 70s who came over from the soviet union, saw a run down bodega, and started crying from how much food was available.

            Anyhow, most of those section 8 dwellers are much happier living with real rats instead of the rats that live in Oceana. At least the rats in the ghetto won’t steal your kidneys and then file 300 different medicaid claims for the service.

          • Loving my Oceana Penthouse

            Uneducated ? Uneducated live in plastic $300,000 3 bedroom/ 1 bathroom
            House in Statem Island because they cannot afford even the cheapest Condo in Brooklyn let alone in Oceana. As far as 70’s go, neither me nor my spouse were not even born till the ’80, further Oceana did not exist until 1999. Anyways, the amount of haterex displayed here and the fact that any topic that has nothing to do with Oceana somehow turns into a shitshow hating on Oceana goes to show you what kinds of lowlife loosers post on here. Get a life and keep on moving past our gates.

            Oh, by the way my husband is not a Dr. and therefore cannot steal your kidney… He is an investment banker so watch the $2 you have In your Retirment account lol

          • A

            Someone made one comment about a hypothetical link between shady doctors and Oceana and it could have ended right there.

            Instead, the pro-Oceana people come out of nowhere accusing everyone of jealousy. See the comment made by “HowDeepistheOceana” and the responses he/she got. The only ‘shitshow’ that went down was pro-Oceana accusing everyone of jealousy, once again.

            You gloat at the thought that we’re all jealous of you, but we’re not. Please get over it.

          • sadeyes

            Thank you, A

          • A

            You’re welcome!

          • Jimmy

            It is because they are Russians. The doctors are Russian. The Russians are filthy Euro trash, who hate everything and everyone. Only the Jews in the most liberal of places, in both San Fran and NYC allow the Russians to live there in masse. Blacks, Hispanics, Indians and the Chinese live in every major city in the US in masse. Actual conservatives know that the Russians are garbage. Reagan once declared Russia to be an evil empire. Both the men and women are equally malicious and twisted. It is time that our pro loving LGBT loving city quits sponsoring and paying for both these men and women. When these Russians find a paycheck, whether it is a 30000 a year social worker or a 1000000 dollar a year earning investment banker, both mock everyone in sight. Often times making fun of the diversity, which got them their jobs in the first place. Let this ungrateful ttash move to places where Republicans and the Tea Party live and see if they are as successful. It is the same type of perverse liberal behavior, which promotes both criminals and the LGBT community.

          • Living the high life in Oceana

            Why don’t I make a “hypothetical link” between your face and my urge to vomit ? How would you like that? What does Oceana have anything to do with the article? It’s not even mentioned anywhere but in the ignorant comments by some welfare recipient who failed miserably at life and can only make “hypothetical” assumptions out of his ***hole. There are over 1000 apartments in Oceana, so only a narrowminded and ignorant prick can assume that they are all occupied by Drs defrauding Medicaid.

            As for the jealousy, there is awful lot of comments about the dump that Oceana is so it makes me wonder where all those posters live themselves ? And why have the prices in Oceana continue to skyrocket day after day while other not so “dumpy” developments take the plunge ?

          • Guest

            I live in the north shore of long island where the median household net worth is substantially higher than those living in Oceana (and my personal net worth is above the median). I’m not jealous of you, I feel deeply sorry for you.

            The prices in Oceana are skyrocketing because all those posturing russians are trying to outdo eachother to show who is worth more/more blinged out. Pretty ghetto really.

          • A

            I suggest you go see one of your scheming doctor friends who will prescribe what you “hypothetically” need.

            In all seriousness though, if you’re so happy with your life and we’re just jealous lowlives or whatever, why are you here arguing with us? why do you feel the need to be so defensive?

          • Guest

            Bragging about your husband’s money? You are one cute 18 year old away from living alone with your rats in one those lowly Brighton Beach apartments you love so much.

            However, since your husband is an investment banker you should probably go get yourself checked out for STDs, the rate of cheating in that ‘profession’ is through the roof.

          • Jimmy

            Maybe they should fire her housband, but you liberal will then find this piece of trash an accounting job or a nursing job. Not because you care, but because you share the same perverse social deviance as these Russians do.

          • Guest

            My liberal what? I’d send them all back to Russia if I could.

          • Living the high life in Oceana

            Thank you very much for your concern, but I do have a DDS degree of my own and thank God I don’t accept Medicaid so I am immune to the risk of running into a loser like you. I am thrilled your wife does not need an STD check up because no woman in her right mind would go for a lowlife like you even if you had the $20 to pay her.

          • Guest

            Throwing my lines right back at me? What is this kindergarten? Since you really have no idea who you are arguing with here I’d stop before you make yourself look stupid.

            You still live in Brighton Beach so enjoy living in your Ghetto cage. When you have to have gates up to protect you from your neighbors you live in the ghetto.

            Given that you are posting at 11:50am on a Wednesday you must not be a very busy dentist. I feel bad for you. Generations of medical neglect in the ol’ soviet union must have left your people with very few teeth to work on.

          • gary

            You are missing the point. These Russians are supported by NYC’ s liberal government, whether it is Bloomberg or de Blasio. If you were to check the foreclosure rates in Long Island, New Jersey, Upstate and Connecticut, you would that every neighborhood in Brooklyn has a lower. foreclosure rate than do most of the neighborhoods in these locales.

          • gary

            I mean every neighborhood with whites. These people are not jealous of us, they are at war with us. They do not desire family or that white picket fence in the suburbs, instead they want to live here and gentrify their communities, just like the Brooklynites of Park Slope or Cobble Hill. These are social deviants, who are quite happu with themselves and who despise the traditional Americsn lifestyle.

          • gary

            Are you still wondering why Prihodka’s killer has yet to face justice. Maybe it is because she had the same scum, trash, vomit inducing behavior as this dentist. Brooklyn shame on you. We live in NYC, and the Russians are to blamr.

  • Murry

    Why is this type of freud is so prevalent. Are the screeners in Medicare just stupid?

  • bagels

    Love this line from the article,”Medical clinics are to Brooklyn what Starbucks locations are to other urban areas.”
    I hope the Feds keep the pressure on these people.

  • Jimmy

    Why not check how Howard Witz and Bruce Barron operate their businesses along the way. With Heinz gone as DA, their will be less corruption among whites in NYC.

  • Metsknicks

    Is it any wonder why we pay the health insurance premiums that we do? Prosecutors would have field day if they spent some serious time just investigating suspicious doctors here in south Brooklyn. But I think for every one they catch, there’s four or five they don’t.

  • Janice Schacter Lintz

    Please sign our petition to have Medicare cover hearing aids under HR 3150. http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/to-pass-hr-3150.fb73?source=c.fb&r_by=6379786

    Please repost to all social media.

    Janice Schacter Lintz, Chair, Hearing Access Program

    • sadeyes

      Thank you Janice.

  • doobieman

    They should send that KGB skank to the gulog for the death of 300 innocent people, if it’s too crowded then give Putin a one way ticket to his buddy Assad in Syria I here it’s very nice in downtown Damascus this time of year.The Soviet Union is dead let stay dead.Turning Russia into a nationalist, neo-fascist homophobic cesspool of corruption.how soon history is forgotten in 1938 Hitler grabbed German speaking Austria, Now in 2014 Putin has grabbed the Crimea, & wants part of the Ukraine.

  • Supporter of Left Handed Rule

    They don’t call the US Gvt. “Uncle Sap” for nothing. Anyways, my spies on the West Coast tell me that similar medicare frauds are rampant out there, but the ethnic perps tend to be the large Filipino medical community. So let’s lay off the Russkies for a moment. There are enough crooks to go around.

    • Jimmy

      With all do respect, we live in the NYC area and here it is the Russians, who are the criminals and crooks. The Russians are evil as Reagan once said. They gentrify the ghetto as do the Brooklynites and the religous Jews. This is all supported by our leftist NYC government.

    • Jimmy

      We let these Russians be computer programmers, engineers, nurses and teachers, instead of our own, because they are crooks and thieves. Look at the MTA, it is mostly black, because black men are the most vile rapists and murderers. Shame on you Brooklyn!

      • guy

        Who are “your own”? Douches? And who you let you be whatever it is that you are? Also are you saying that the MTA is mostly black because the MTA is looking to employ rapist and murders. You sound nuts.

    • Bobby

      We live in Sheepshead Bay and not the west coast.

      • Supporter of Left Handed Rule

        Bobby, thank you for this very good geography lesson for me. My point was that our Medicare system invites corruption on a coast to coast scale due to poor oversight and many crooked personalities. .

        • Jimmy

          While most people leave Brooklyn when they find a job and settle down, Russians, on the other hand, wind up buying property in Brooklyn. I wish that some of the employers, who employ these Russians would wise up and throw them out. These people are evil and I would seriously avoid hiring them. If you need to meet some etnic or racial qoutas, you are then better off going with an Asian ora Latino. Show these people the door, go back to Mother Russia, a terrorist state.

        • Jim Beam

          The Ruskies scamming in Sheepshead Bay alone with respect to fraudulent medical reports has Allstate blackballed from writing new policies and jacking the rates of the legit people around here. I know because I was told this by a close friend who is an Allstate insurance broker. And all of these scamming doctors are “treating” Russians. They are who are killing the system with 10 different names, no less, in Brooklyn. End of story.

  • Jimmy

    If I was the new owner of Sheepshead bites, I would throw you Berke out. Sheepshead Bay is a crime ridden cesspool of vermin. This neighborhood is a cult. Both conservatives and Liberals despise Sheepshead Bay .Insteaf of pandering to whites like you Berke and the Russians, this neighborhood should have 5% of whites. When they kick ylur nasty behind out scu bag, do not run back to mommy and daddy.

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