Insurance Fraud NEWS
OB-GYN allegedly bilks Illinois out of $100K for fake services
January 02, 2018, Chicago, IL
A Northwest Side doctor has been charged with defrauding the state of $100,000 in Medicaid funds for women’s health services she didn’t provide, the Illinois attorney general’s office said.
Dr. Manuela Farhi, 60, whose obstetrics and gynecology practice on West North Avenue in the Galewood neighborhood offered care for women enrolled in Medicaid, allegedly billed the state for patients who missed appointments and for services she claimed to have performed while out of the country, according to an indictment filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court.
“The state’s Medicaid program exists to ensure the most vulnerable people have access to the medical programs and services they need,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a news release. “Those who abuse this critical program and defraud the state out of scarce resources will be held accountable.”
Medicaid provides health coverage to low-income patients. It is administered by the states and funded jointly with the federal government.
The fraudulent Medicaid billing allegedly took place between 2008 and 2015, according to the indictment, which charged Farhi with vendor fraud, theft and forgery.
Farhi, who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment.
A board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist since 1992, Farhi earned her medical degree at the Chicago Medical School in North Chicago, and her website lists teaching positions at both Rush University Medical Center and Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
But Farhi is no longer associated with Rush after resigning from the medical staff and faculty in 2014, hospital spokesman John Pontarelli said Tuesday.
A Weiss spokesman was not immediately available Tuesday.
The indictment follows an investigation by the Illinois State Police.
“It’s always upsetting to discover someone defrauding such a vital system as the Medicaid program, but it’s especially disconcerting when that person is in a profession entrusted to maintain a high ethical standard,” said Brian Ley of the state police’s Medicaid fraud control bureau.
Source: Chicago Tribune