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Houston doctor blames agencies in Medicare scam

Houston Chronicle, May 24, 2012

Houston physician Ben Echols, accused of federal healthcare fraud, admitted Wednesday he did not read every patient request for home health services but relied on the now-questionable judgment of the two companies, Family Healthcare Services and Houston Compassionate Care, who paid him when he signed off on bogus and unnecessary Medicare benefits. But federal prosecutors contend the doctor's alleged conspiracy to defraud the government resulted in more than $5.2 million in bogus claims billed to taxpayers. The gastroenterologist's testimony was meant to explain how and why he referred 352 patients for Medicare-funded home healthcare that they neither qualified for nor needed.