Maryland Physician Indicted For Alleged Health Care Fraud Involving COVID-19

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced on April 20, 2022 that 47-year-old Ron Elfenbein, M.D. of Arnold, Maryland has been indicted for three counts of healthcare fraud for submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and other insurers for patients who received COVID-19 tests at sites operated by him.

Elfenbein and 17 other defendants in nine federal districts across the United States face criminal charges for their alleged participation in various fraud schemes involving health care services that exploited the COVID-19 pandemic and resulted in over $149 million in COVID-19 related false billings to federal programs and theft from pandemic assistance programs. In connection with the enforcement action, the Department of Justice seized over $8 million in cash and other fraud proceeds.

According to the Maryland indictment, Elfenbein owned and operated Drs ERgent Care, LLC, d/b/a First Call Medical Center and Chesapeake ERgent Care. Drs ERgent Care operated drive-through COVID-19 testing sites in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties. The indictment alleges that Elfenbein instructed the employees of Drs ERgent Care that, in addition to billing for the COVID-19 test, the employees were to bill for moderately complex office visits, lasting between 30 and 39 minutes for existing patients and between 45 and 59 minutes for new patients, even though Elfenbein knew that the visits lasted five minutes or less. Further, the indictment alleges that Elfenbein, through Drs ERgent Care, submitted or caused the submission of claims totaling more than $1.5 million to Medicare and other insurers for office visits that were not provided as represented and were ineligible for reimbursement.

The Director for COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement stated, “This COVID-19 health care fraud enforcement action involves extraordinary efforts to prosecute some of the largest and most wide-ranging pandemic frauds detected to date. The scale and complexity of the schemes prosecuted today illustrates the success of our unprecedented interagency effort to quickly investigate and prosecute those who abuse our critical health care programs.”

If convicted, Elfenbein faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for each of the three counts of healthcare fraud. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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FirstCall Medical Center states on its website: “FirstCall Medical Center provides new rapid testing in Anne Arundel County for our patients and provides results as fast as possible.” “Our Medical Director and Founder, Dr. Ron Elfenbein, started our facility in 2016 with a desire to provide stellar care and a stellar experience to all our patients. Dr. Elfenbein is a board-certified Johns Hopkins trained ER doctor who currently practices emergency medicine at multiple facilities in MD and DE. He was selected and served as chief resident in his final year at Hopkins … He has worked with the United States Secret Service at the White House, the Beltsville MD training facility, and at the Salt Lake City Olympic games in 2002. He was a member of the US Secret Service Emergency Services Program Medical Response Team deployed for the entirety of the Olympic Games providing medical care to over 5000 federal agents. He was the Republican nominee for State Senate and narrowly lost his bid in 2010 for the District 30 MD State Senate Seat against a 30-year incumbent … He currently serves as medical consultant/medical director to multiple companies and is medical director of multiple ambulance companies in MD.”

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If you or a loved one may have been injured as a result of medical malpractice in Maryland, you should promptly find a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a Maryland medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2022 at 5:29 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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