Pam Gardner, 55, of Springfield, Tennessee, pleaded guilty yesterday, to conspiracy to solicit and receive cash kickbacks in exchange for making patient referrals, announced Jack Smith, Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
During a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox, sitting by designation, Gardner admitted that, as the owner and operator of Medical Necessities, Inc., a medical practice located in Springfield, Tenn., she agreed to receive cash kickbacks in exchange for causing patients to be referred to Air Affiliates, a Nashville-based medical equipment provider. Gardner admitted to accepting at least $15,000 in cash kickbacks, in exchange for referring patients to Air Affiliates, who provided these patients with Durable Medical Equipment such as continuous positive airway pressure (“CPAP”) ventilators. Gardner further acknowledged that some of the patients she referred in exchange for cash payments were Medicare beneficiaries.
Gardner faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced on September 26, 2017.
Also yesterday, Torvis Gardner, 41, of Springfield, Tennessee, an employee at Medical Necessities, pleaded guilty to making or causing a false statement to be made in a claim under a federal health care program. He faces up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Gardner is scheduled to be sentenced on September 26, 2017.
These guilty pleas follow several other recent convictions in this district involving individuals who paid for or accepted cash kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals, or who caused false statements to be made in claims submitted under a federal health care program:
All sentences will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and applicable federal statutes.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas J. Jaworski.