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Dr. Clark and His Billing Supervisor Plead Guilty to Decade-long Healthcare Fraudulent Billing Scheme

Posted by Audrey Schechter | Feb 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

John Eastham Clark, M.D. and Charlene Anita Serverio pled guilty on February 13, 2019 to charges of committing healthcare fraud.  The Department of Justice for the Middle District of Louisiana's office announced such plea on February 14, 2019.  A portion of their press release provides:

Clark was a co-owner and the medical director of Louisiana Spine & Sports LLC, a pain management clinic located in Baton Rouge.  According to plea documents, the charge stems from Clark's role in a scheme to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare and other health care insurers.  Specifically, as part of his guilty plea, Clark admitted that from approximately June 2005 through March 2015, he, along with his billing supervisor Severio, and others, conspired to submit fraudulent claims indicating that minor surgical procedures occurred on days subsequent to office visits, when in fact the office visits and procedures took place on the same day.  Clark admitted that this practice, commonly referred to as “unbundling,” was done to defraud health care insurers for non-reimbursable office visits.  Clark further admitted to falsifying, and directing Severio and others to falsify, records substantiating the fraudulent claims.  

Severio was a billing supervisor at Louisiana Spine & Sports, and worked for Clark.  According to admissions made as part of her guilty plea, from approximately June 2005 through March 2015, Severio conspired with Clark to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare and other health care insurers.  Specifically, Severio admitted that she knowingly and willfully submitted fraudulent claims indicating that minor surgical procedures performed by Clark occurred on days subsequent to office visits, when in fact the office visits and procedures took place on the same day.  Severio admitted that this practice was done to defraud health care insurers.

 In another case involving Louisiana Spine & Sports, on Nov. 20, 2018, Gray Wesley Barrow M.D., a co-owner of Louisiana Spine & Sports, pleaded guilty to a scheme to receive approximately $336,000 in illegal health care kickback payments.  Barrow is scheduled to be sentenced on March 1.  In addition, Christopher William Armstrong, a former physician's assistant at Louisiana Spine & Sports, pleaded guilty on Nov. 27, 2018 for his role in a scheme to unlawfully distribute thousands of oxycodone pills.  Armstrong is scheduled to be sentenced on April 16. 

To see the entire press release, please link here.  

About the Author

Audrey Schechter

Audrey Hildes Schechter is an experienced commercial and civil litigator, working in the areas of fraud, qui tam, healthcare fraud, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, Tricare fraud, appellate practice, health care law, and employment litigation. Audrey has practiced in Florida for 25 years and in New Y...

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