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Wise County psychiatrist sentenced to probation for federal health care fraud

Wise County psychiatrist sentenced to probation for federal health care fraud

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ABINGDON, Va. — A Wise County, Virginia, psychiatrist, who authorities said defrauded Virginia Medicaid and Medicare by fraudulently billing for services not performed, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.

Uzma Ehtesham, 52, pleaded guilty in November to one count of health care fraud, according to a news release from acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Bubar and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. Ehtesham will serve two years of probation, with six months on home detention, the release adds.

“Eradicating health care fraud remains a top priority for this office,” Bubar said in the release. “When people like Ehtesham steal from our state and federal programs, they divert funds from the most vulnerable in our communities."

Herring said, “Health care providers and other individuals who defraud our health care system just to line their own pockets are not only stealing from Medicaid and Medicare, but they are also stealing from taxpayers, and they must be held accountable.”

From 2010 to 2016, Ehtesham devised a scheme to defraud the state programs by billing for individual office visits when she often saw patients in groups, according to court records. Frequently, Ehtesham met with patients in groups of two to four in a single visit but would subsequently bill as if she had met with them independently.

In many instances, Ehtesham only met with a patient for five to six minutes and then billed for services not supported by required documentation, the release states.

As part of the scheme, Ehtesham received $500,000 in fraudulently obtained proceeds from Virginia Medicare and Medicaid, the release states.

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