Bobby Rouse Sr, an 80-year-old former Houston man, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay and receive kickbacks and money laundering related to the Medicare program.
Mr Rouse becomes the 14th and final person convicted in relation to the scheme. Rouse and three others were part of the executive team for Continuum Healthcare LLC. They owned the Westbury Community Hospital (now closed) in Houston. The company also owned mental health centers in Hornwood, Baytown and Missouri City.
Each location operated a partial hospitalization program (PHP), a short-term intensive treatment program but without 24-hour daily care. Numerous people were referred to treatment in exchange for payment. However the vast majority did not qualify for PHP services because they were not experiencing an acute psychotic episode or were actually suffering from dememtia or Alzheimer’s.
Six of the defendants owned personal care homes while four were marketers for Continuum. Each admitting payments to refer the patients, receiving amounts ranging from $130,000 to $2.6 million each.
In all, Continuum billed Medicare approximately $189 million for fraudulent PHP claims and Medicare paid $66 million on these claims. Mr Rouse admitted to causing Medicare to pay $18.8 million based on false and fraudulent claims. For Mr Rouse, the scheme ran from March 2005 through May 2012.
Mr Rouse will be sentenced in January 2020. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
Ten of the defendants were originally indicted in 2014 though Mr Rouse was not charged until 2017. This followed an investigation by the Houston Chronicle back in 2011.