Nurse Practitioner From Florida Found Guilty of $200 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Nurse Practitioner

A Florida nurse practitioner, Elizabeth Hernandez, has been convicted by a federal jury in Miami for her role in a scheme that defrauded Medicare of more than $200 million. Hernandez was found guilty of healthcare conspiracy and other charges after fraudulently billing Medicare for unnecessary orthotic braces and genetic tests. The scheme involved telemarketing companies persuading Medicare patients to request these unnecessary medical items, which were then billed to the program. Hernandez would sign pre-filled orders attesting that she had examined or treated the patients, even though she had not spoken with many of them. She also routinely billed Medicare for more than 24 hours of purported “office visits” in a single day.

In 2020, Hernandez ordered more cancer genetic tests for Medicare beneficiaries than any other provider in the nation, including oncologists and geneticists. She personally profited from the scheme, pocketing $1.6 million, which she used to purchase luxury cars, jewelry, home renovations, and trips.

One of Hernandez’s co-conspirators, Michael Stein, pleaded guilty in April to defrauding the United States by paying and receiving kickbacks. He was sentenced to five years in prison in June.

Elizabeth Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced on December 14 and faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison for the top count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, with lesser maximums for health care fraud and making false statements.

Read More: