A Houston psychiatrist was convicted late yesterday by a federal jury of participating in a $158 million Medicare fraud scheme involving false claims for mental health treatment.Sharon Iglehart, 58, of Harris County, Texas, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of health care fraud and three counts of making false statements relating to health care matters, following a seven-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. of the Southern District of Texas. Iglehart is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 5, 2015.
According to evidence presented at trial, from 2006 until June 2012, Iglehart and others engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting, through Riverside General Hospital (Riverside), approximately $158 million in false and fraudulent claims for partial hospitalization program services to Medicare. A PHP is a form of intensive outpatient treatment for severe mental illness.
The evidence presented at trial showed that the Medicare beneficiaries for whom Riverside billed Medicare did not receive PHP services. In fact, according to evidence presented at trial, most of the Medicare beneficiaries for whom Riverside billed Medicare rarely saw a psychiatrist and did not receive intensive psychiatric treatment.
In addition, evidence presented at trial showed that Iglehart personally billed Medicare for individual psychotherapy and other treatment to patients at Riverside locations – treatment that she never provided. The evidence at trial also demonstrated that Iglehart falsified the medical records of patients at Riverside’s inpatient facility to make it appear as if she provided psychiatric treatment when, in fact, she did not.