As downtown Los Angeles private speculators continue to use municipal authorities to push the city’s transient population further into the margins, some crafty physicians and the hospitals that employ them are finding ways to use the homeless for profit.
According to multiple reports, Pacific Health Corp. officials said they will close the doors of their three remaining hospitals this week, in part because of legal costs associated with federal prosecutors’ allegations that the hospitals recruited homeless people to wrongly charge Medicare and Medi-Cal for care.
The hospitals involved in the cunning scheme were Bellflower Medical Center, Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center and the Hawthorne campus, and Newport Specialty Hospital.
Federal prosecutors allege that these hospitals’ physicians would recruit homeless people off Los Angles’ notorious Skid Row and pay them stipends to agree to allow the hospital employees to perform medical procedures that the homeless men and women did not need.
After the physicians were done with the homeless individuals, they’d dump them back onto the streets.
If you were wondering if this is an isolated incident of medical malfeasance, it is not; likewise, in 2010, two Brentwood physicians were sentenced to prison and heavily fined for engaging in similar practices at City of Angels Medical Center.
Department of Justice officials announced in August that Pacific Health agreed to pay a $16.5 million for engaging in the scheme.