New Orleans, Louisiana - A Louisiana doctor was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in a scheme to receive approximately $336,000 in illegal health care kickback payments.
Gray Wesley Barrow, M.D., 61, of Baton Rouge, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks on Nov. 20, 2018. According to court documents, Barrow was a co-owner of Louisiana Spine & Sports LLC, a pain management clinic located in Baton Rouge. Barrow agreed to send urine specimens collected from his patients to a drug testing laboratory in return for an unlawful kickback calculated as a percentage of the reimbursements paid to the laboratory by Medicare and other health care benefit programs.
From approximately January 2014 through July 2016, Barrow sent specimens collected from his patients to the laboratory and received approximately $1.58 million in disbursements from the laboratory. Of that $1.58 million, approximately $336,000 represented kickback payments associated with testing performed on specimens of Medicare beneficiaries, which the court ordered Barrow to forfeit as part of the sentence. Additionally, Barrow was ordered to pay $336,000 in restitution.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Ellison C. Travis of the Middle District of Louisiana; Special Agent in Charge Miranda Bennett of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Bryan A. Vorndran of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office made the announcement.
HHS-OIG and the FBI investigated the case.
Assistant Chief Dustin M. Davis and Trial Attorney Justin M. Woodard of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth E. White of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana prosecuted the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.