Skip to comments.Kentucky Lt. Gov. Accused of Medicare Fraud (Note the Clinton connection!)
Posted on 11/08/2002 9:39:16 AM PST by Dems_R_Losers
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov. 7 The federal government filed a lawsuit today accusing Lt. Gov. Steve Henry, an orthopedic surgeon who is considering running for governor next year, of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.
The accusations stem from Dr. Henry's role supervising orthopedic residents, or surgeons in training, at the University of Louisville.
Under federal regulations, supervising doctors must be present during surgery to legally bill the two government programs for their time. A lawsuit brought today under the False Claims Act accuses Dr. Henry of improperly billing for 44 operations it says he missed.
All 44 operations were from 1996 to 2001, after Dr. Henry was elected lieutenant governor as a Democrat in 1995.
Each incident described in the lawsuit outlines Dr. Henry's whereabouts at the time of the surgery. Most show him at political functions when the surgery was performed, including an Oct. 10, 1996, operation the lawsuit shows listed for the same hours it says Dr. Henry was awaiting the arrival of President Bill Clinton at a political rally.
In a news conference today, Dr. Henry called the accusations untrue. He said he missed only 16 operations, not 44, and blamed staff members for the billing errors in the 16 cases.
He also said the mistakes were not made "recklessly or intentionally."
"We're not dealing with any crime," Dr. Henry said. "If I had done anything wrong, they would have me in criminal proceedings. This comes down to who owes who money."
He has said he intended to continue exploring a run for governor.
Gov. Paul Patton, embroiled in accusations that he used his office to assist and then retaliate against a business owner with whom he had had an affair, is barred by term limits from seeking re-election.
The case against Dr. Henry had been investigated for possible criminal violations, but United States Attorney Stephen Pence said in September that he would not seek an indictment.
Mr. Pence said that he delayed filing the lawsuit at the request of Dr. Henry's lawyers but that settlement discussions had "not been fruitful."
Under the False Claims Act, the government is allowed to triple the amount of damages to the state. Mr. Pence estimates the loss to the state at $60,000, which would be tripled to $180,000.
The lawsuit also seeks a penalty of $5,000 to $11,000 for each of the 44 claims, raising the approximate total of damages plus penalties to $400,000 to $600,000, Mr. Pence said.
Dr. Henry's lawyer, Bixler Howland, disputed the $60,000 figure, saying medical bills and records showed that the state lost only $27,000.
Dr. Henry then received less than half that amount, Mr. Pence said.
Most investigations under the act have involved Medicare, which pays for health care for the elderly and also provides billions of dollars to the nation's teaching hospitals for medical education.
Statewide elections next year, looks like another Georgia on the way!
And what's really disgusting is that she switched her party affiliation from Republican to commiecrat after the engagement was announced........
This can't do anything but help Jim Bunning in the Senate race and increase the GOP's chances of gaining the governor's mansion in '04.
I hadn't heard this. That's great news.
Interesting. When the residents screw up the operation, who do you sue: the guy with the knife in his hand; the supervising doctor; or the hospital?? Yeah, I know, all of them, especially the guy with the insurance.
But the guy standing on the sidelines gets paid, is he then responsible?
The only bad part of this is that a liberal was elected Mayor of Lexington and would have a pretty good shot at Fletcher's seat in 2004 if he runs and wins. But it would be worth losing this seat in Congress to gain the governorship. Fletcher would be a shoo-in for Bunning's Senate seat in 2010.
Hmmmmmm .. could someone explain to this lawyer .. the point is the Doctor ripped off the State regardless of the amount
And the last I knew .. it is still a no no ..
What's that saying .. Watch what you wish for .. you just might get it
IMO .. too many, for far too long were use to stealing from the people, they have gotten to the point they think there is nothing wrong with it
Prosecutors tried for weeks to reach a settlement with Henry before suing, but Henry was unwilling to admit wrongdoing, return the questioned payments and submit to stricter billing practices in the future, Pence said.
Henry, a Democrat, was elected in 1995 with Gov. Paul Patton and married former Miss America Heather Renee French in 2000. [I remember she made a big deal at the time of her wedding about switching from the Republican party, and having "seen the light". I wonder if she still thinks she hitched her wagon to the right horse.] Now a candidate for governor in the 2003 race, Henry denied the fraud allegations yesterday.
Henry said his billing claims are processed by hospital staff and Medicare and Medicaid officials, sometimes months after surgical operations take place. It's possible he signed the claims listed in the suit with inaccurate dates or times, but if so, the errors were unintentional, he said. [Very Clinton-like, blaming the fraud on others.]
"The U.S. attorney's office is holding a physician to a very high standard for billing errors," Henry said. "You're going to have billing errors in any system. There's nothing I can do about that."
The fraud suit could doom Henry's gubernatorial ambitions, said political scientist Paul Blanchard.
"It's certainly going to hurt him politically unless he comes up with a very convincing argument in his defense, something more compelling than, 'We made a few billing errors, but it wasn't really my fault,'" said Blanchard, who teaches state politics at Eastern Kentucky University.
More to the point, Kentuckians might start to wonder why they pay a lieutenant governor at all, Blanchard added.
Henry's hospital and office schedules indicate he spends much of his time either practicing medicine or attending meetings, lobbyist receptions and community events.
"Some people would argue we're paying this guy to be our lieutenant governor, so now it looks like he's double or triple billing us," Blanchard said.
Pence also said yesterday that he would not rule out legal action against University Hospital as a result of claims uncovered in the Henry investigation.
Hospital spokesman Ken Marshall said the hospital did nothing wrong and is not responsible for physician billing.
The liberal new mayor is a flake. It will be all she can do to try and manage Lexington without making major errors. I predict Ms. Isaacs will be a one-term mayor trying to deal with Lexington's needs. She'll not get far in a run for Fletcher's seat.
Shortly after Miss America Heather Renee French finishes her reign in Atlantic City on Oct. 14, she'll marry the man who hopes to be Kentucky's next governor.
If Henry, a Democrat, does run for governor in 2003, Heather French won't have any problem campaigning for him then. Last fall, she limited her participation in a campaign bus tour by Gov. Paul Patton and Henry after pageant officials raised concerns about a public role in their re-election campaign.
French and Henry had already revealed that she was changing her voter registration from Republican to Democrat, saying she thought Democrats were more sympathetic to her platform. The day her switch was revealed, Vice President Al Gore introduced her to the crowd at a Washington fund-raiser as a fresh convert.
Married to the man who used to be the next Governor of Kentucky
What are y'all doing down there anyway? Kick their butts and make 'em vote Republican. We've got Northern Kentucky all sewn up. :) (For which I can take no credit whatsoever since I've only lived here 3 years. But you can imagine how nice it is since one of my old Senators was Lieberman.)
Do you think Lucas might really switch? My husband has read that we have been after him for years to jump ship. We've heard that Lucas HATES Gephardt and loves being a thorn in his side. With Dickie gone, and rats in the minority, does Lucas have anything more to lose by jumping?
ALCON: Want to make sure you know about the greater Hardin County Veterans Celebration on 9 November 02 in Vine Grove, Kentucky. Join the 16th Cav, 113th Army Band and the post Chaplain as Fort Knox celebrates with our surrounding communities at Optimist Park. The parade will begin in Vine Grove on 144 by the Chamber of Commerce at 1045, with the festivities to follow immediately after at the pavilion at Optimist Park. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE SATURDAY!
As my great compatriots one and all have pointed out to me this morning the errors of my ways.....the Great Patton Museum Volunteers and Equipment will be a marvelous part of this celebration.
I know Lucas pretty well, and he really does not want to switch, but I think the election of Pelosi as minority leader just might send him over the edge. He can't stand the East Coast/West Coast liberal faction. He is a charter member of the Blue Dogs. He has term-limited himself and this is his last term, so he might not think it's worth it to switch at this point. But on the other hand, he has nothing to lose and he might do it to try to send a message to the Democrats. His district is very Republican and a Republican will surely win the seat in 2004. I just got an email saying that Sen. McConnell is already pushing his chief of staff to run. So Lucas might as well switch. I am certainly going to encourage him!
I think a few of the other Blue Dogs might switch as well.
I didn't mean to imply that Isaac could get elected to Congress, and I doubt she would even run. But Crosbie would have been the logical candidate had he won the mayor's race. I think it is a big leap now for Crosbie to go from losing the mayor's race to winning a Congressional race.
I don't live in Lexington anymore, so I don't know who else might be a good Republican candidate in the 6th District. What are your thoughts?
I'm in Lucas' district and the 3 counties up here (Boone, Kenton and Campbell) went for Davis (largest percentage was 58 but the other two were around 52-53%), but we crashed and burned in the rest of the counties.
I volunteered a little for Davis and am frankly mystified as to why he lost. He was a good conservative candidate as far as I am concerned. I have been despairing of finding a better candidate to go against Lucas.
If he doesn't run again, then we can probably get a republican in there. But if he still wants the seat, I'm not sure we can take it away from him. How likely is he going to go wishy-washy like many of the others and run again?
And introduced by the man who used to be the next President of the United Stats.
Really? I missed their debate and never saw/heard much of anything from Lucas at all. My neighbor saw the debate and said that Lucas was nasty. Then came out the ads about Davis' honesty and releasing 10 years of tax returns.
Is this what you're talking about or is there something else?
He doesn't really have to switch. He could stay a Democrat and caucus with the Republicans (vote for Hastert instead of Pelosi).
Well, the demokrat way, at least. Anyway, it sounds like she's in the appropriate party now....