Category Archives: Uncategorized

Roig Lawyers Ranked #1 in Law360’s 2019 Diversity Snapshot

2019 Law360 Diversity Snapshot 2

Roig Lawyers is the only minority-owned, Florida law firm ranked in Law360’s 2019 Diversity Snapshot for law firms with 50-149 attorneys.

Roig Lawyers is ranked #1 for “The Best Firms For Minority Equity Partners” and “The Best Firms For Minority Attorneys.” It is also one of three firms with fewer than 150 attorneys that include 50% equity partners of color.

Our inclusion in this list is a reflection of our firm’s identity. We are proud of our philosophy of cultural diversity in the workplace.

Click here for more information.

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Arcadia Man Arrested and Charged with Insurance Fraud

Frank David Berry III of Arcadia was arrested and charged with insurance fraud after an investigation by State Department of Financial Services, Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. A man in a van backed out of a parking spot, collided with a Mercury which struck a Cadillac parked nearby. After the accident, Berry called the insurance company claiming that he was in the Cadillac at the time of the collision. He claimed he went to the hospital due to pain in his neck and back as a result of the violent crash.

The driver of the van and a witness, however, say Berry was not in the Cadillac at the time of the crash. Berry is captured on security video footage from the parking lot leaving his vehicle and walking into the store over a minute before the collision of the three cars. Berry is facing charges of insurance fraud and three counts of using a communication device to facilitate a felony.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Insurance Fraud, Uncategorized

Roig Lawyers Partners Selected to Present at the 2019 Florida Liability Claims Conference

Roig Lawyers is proud to announce that three of its partners have been chosen to speak at the 2019 Florida Liability Claims Conference from June 5-7 at the Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Conference Center in Orlando, FL.

Ricardo M. Luces & Patricia G. Preciado

  • Evidence: The Building Blocks to a Successful Jury Trial

Miguel R. Roura & John Miller (Stockholder – Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.)

  • Annual Case Law Update

Click here for more information.

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Roig Lawyers Partners Selected as Speakers for the 2019 Florida Insurance Fraud Education Committee Conference

FIFEC

Roig Lawyers is proud to announce that four of its partners have been chosen to speak at the 2019 Florida Insurance Fraud Education Committee Conference from June 5-7 at the Caribe Royale Orlando.

John S. LeinickePartner

  • Up in Smoke? Cannabis and the Insurance Industry in 2019

Ricardo M. LucesPartner Patricia G. Preciado, Partner

  • EVIDENCE: The Building Blocks To A Successful Jury Trial

Patricia G. PreciadoPartner Ricardo M. Luces, Partner

  • The Best Interest of the Insured: When Public Adjusters Goes Too Far

Scharome R. WolfeManaging Partner of Orlando Office

  • Injections Don’t Need to Be Painful
  • Let’s Make a Deal! Factoring and Pre-Surgical Funding

Click here for more information.

 

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Filed under Insurance Fraud, Uncategorized

Geico Seeks To Recover $20M in Racketeering Suit

As reported by Law360, Geico is seeking to recover at least $20 million in compensatory damages, in addition to costs, fees and punitive damages from a Florida chiropractor and his network of clinics.

On Thursday, May 30th, the insurer filed suit in Florida federal court against Mark A. Cereceda claiming civil racketeering violations and unjust enrichment as well as common law fraud and other claims.

According to the complaint, Geico says Mark A. Cereceda and his various Ceda Orthopedics clinics in Miami billed for services that were unnecessary, never provided and performed by people who were not properly licensed. Geico paid for physical therapy services performed by unsupervised massage therapists who are unqualified to perform physical therapy and who, under Florida law, cannot be reimbursed under PIP insurance. The insurer is also requesting a declaration from the court that it is not legally obligated to pay reimbursement of more than $75,000 in pending fraudulent PIP claims submitted by Cereceda’s clinics.

Cereceda has been sued by insurers at least three times over fraudulent medical billing and coding, delivering medically unnecessary chiropractic care and engaging in an unlawful referral scheme.

Click here for full article. (Subscription Required)

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Filed under Insurance Fraud, Lawsuits, Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade Fraud, PIP, Uncategorized, Unlicensed Clinics

Contractor and Suspected Fraudster Prohibited from Betting While Case is Ongoing

The News4Jax I-TEAM spotted Wyatt Green, a Jacksonville contractor suspected of insurance fraud, betting thousands in a Best Bet poker room while out on bond. Green was just arrested and charged with felony forgery, fraud, and grand theft a month ago.

Green and his team are accused of taking insurance money meant to pay for customers’ repairs, but not completing the work. The State Attorney’s Office changed his bond conditions as a result of the I-TEAM investigation, keeping him from betting or gambling while his case is ongoing.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Insurance Fraud, Uncategorized

How Billing Processes of Florida Medical Providers for PIP Claims are Affected by the Thirty Third Amendment to Regulation 83 Under New York-Based Insurance Policies

The New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS’) has finalized the Thirty-Third Amendment to Regulation 83 (the “33rd Amendment”), which was published in the State Register on October 25, 2017 and will affect treatment rendered on or after January 23, 2018. Pursuant to the accompanying press release, the 33rd Amendment is designed to “limit the amount that insurers can reimburse for healthcare services performed outside of New York State under its no-fault insurance law.”[1] By limiting reimbursement amounts for out-of-state no-fault healthcare services, which are treating New York State (“NYS”) residents, the DFS intends to “curb costs and abuses” by out-of-state medical providers charging excessive rates.[2].

Regulation 83, governing the reimbursement of out-of-state providers, previously provided that:

“If a professional health service is performed outside New York State, the permissible charge for such service shall be the prevailing fee in the geographic location of the provider.” (11 NYCRR § 68.6).

The case of Surgicare Surgical Assoc. v National Interstate Ins. Co., 2014 WL 6610048, 2014 N.Y. Slip Op. 24362) (Anthony Cannataro, J.), provides a good example of an out-of-state provider seeking reimbursement at an exorbitant rate, diminishing the coverage available to the insured for other medically necessary services. There, the provider performed arthroscopic surgery on a covered person in New Jersey and submitted a claim for reimbursement under the applicable New York No-fault policy. Although the state of New Jersey has a fee schedule that applies to the reimbursement of medical services under the New Jersey’s No-fault law, the provider submitted a bill to the insurer for approximately $5,000 more than the amount it would have been reimbursed had the claim involved a New Jersey auto policy and as a result, was governed by the New Jersey fee schedule. The insurer reimbursed the amount permitted under the New Jersey fee schedule, essentially maintaining that, pursuant to Regulation 83, the New Jersey fee scheduled reflected the permissible amount in the geographic area. The provider sued for the difference. After discussing the applicable regulations and policy considerations behind the enactment of the New York No-fault law, including the legislative intent of cost containment, a New York City Civil Court judge held that, “when services are rendered outside of New York but in a jurisdiction which utilizes a fee schedule, the insurer complies with Section 68.6 by paying the ‘permissible’ charge for that particular medical service, that is, the amount permitted by that jurisdiction’s fee schedule.” The provider appealed and the Appellate Term affirmed. See Surgicare Surgical Assoc. v National Interstate Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 25338 (App. Term 1st Dept. 2015).

In other instances, the amount sought by out-of-state providers has been tens of thousands of dollars above the amount that would be permitted under the New York Fee Schedule. Recognizing the potential for fraud and abuse, the Amendment provides an effective solution to the exploitation of the No-fault system by out-of-state providers and, adopts, to some extent, the holding in Surgicare and, by regulation, strengthens the limits placed on reimbursement of such providers. Specifically, the Amendment states:

11 NYCRR 68.6: Health services performed outside New York State

(a)(1) If a professional health service reimbursable under [section 5102(a)(1) of the] Insurance Law section 5102(a)(1) is performed outside this State, the amount that the insurer shall reimburse for the service shall be the lower of the amount charged by the provider and the prevailing fee in the geographic location of the provider with respect to services:

(i) that constitute emergency care;

(ii) provided to an eligible injured person that is not a resident of this State; or

(iii) provided to an eligible injured person that is a resident of this State who, at the time of treatment, is residing in the jurisdiction where the treatment is being rendered for reasons unrelated to the treatment.

(2) For purposes of this subdivision, emergency care means all medically necessary treatment initiated within 48 hours of a motor vehicle accident for a traumatic injury or a medical condition resulting from the accident, which injury or condition manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that absence of immediate attention could reasonably be expected to result in: death; serious impairment to bodily functions; or serious dysfunction of a bodily organ or part.  Medically necessary treatment shall include immediate pre-hospitalization care, transportation to a hospital or trauma center, emergency room care, surgery, critical and acute care.  Emergency care extends during the period of initial hospitalization until the patient is discharged from the hospital.

(b) Except as provided in subdivision (a) of this section, if a professional health service reimbursable under Insurance Law section 5102(a)(1) is performed outside this State with respect to an eligible injured person that is a resident of this State, the amount that the insurer shall reimburse for the service shall be the lowest of:

(1) the amount of the fee set forth in the region of this State that has the highest applicable amount in the fee schedule for that service;

(2) the amount charged by the provider; and

(3) the prevailing fee in the geographic location of the provider.

(c) If the jurisdiction in which the treatment is being rendered has established a fee schedule for reimbursing health services rendered in connection with claims for motor vehicle-related injuries and the fee schedule applies to the service being provided, the prevailing fee amount specified in subdivisions (a) and (b) of this section shall be the amount prescribed in that jurisdiction’s fee schedule for the respective service.

The 33rd Amendment separates treatment by out-of-state medical providers into the following two categories:

  1. Out-of-state medical services, which (a) constitute emergency care[3], (b) are provided to non-NYS residents, and (c) are provided to patients with a NYS domicile, who are currently living in the state where the treatment is being rendered, for reasons unrelated to the accident.
  2. Out-of-state medical services provided to a NYS resident, currently living in NYS.

There is one main difference between the two categories – which State’s no-fault fee schedule governs and must be utilized by the insurer when reimbursing the medical provider. Simply put, if the medical services fall into Category 1, the medical provider’s reimbursement will be capped at the No-Fault Schedule rate for the State and region wherein the services are provided. By contrast, if the medical services fall into Category 2, the medical provider’s reimbursement will be capped at the highest rate available under the New York State No-Fault Fee Schedule unless the State where the treatment is being rendered has an established fee schedule for claims related to motor vehicle-related injuries.

As such, section (c) of 11 NYCRR 68.6 would apply to medical services rendered in Florida as there is an established set of fee schedules within the Florida No-Fault Law. While the foregoing may be the general rule, there are nuances requiring attention.

The reimbursement rate for medical services is now capped at the prevailing fee in the geographical location of the provider unless the provider charges less. Thus, the 33rd Amendment now limits the prevailing geographical rate to that area’s local No-Fault Fee Schedule Rate. In other words, if x-ray services are performed in Miami, Florida the provider’s reimbursement is limited to the schedule of maximum charges as listed in the Florida No-Fault law for that geographical region (Miami) (i.e, 200% of Medicare Part B).

The medical providers and insurers also need to be familiar with the amendment’s definition of what constitutes “emergency care”’ and how it relates to reimbursement.

Example 1: If a person is transported to the Hospital as a result of a motor vehicle accident in Florida and that person lives in Florida but is covered by a New York policy, then that Hospital provider’s charges would be limited to 75% of the usual and customary charge pursuant to the Florida No-Fault Law’s schedule of maximum charges. Moreover, the emergency services doctor would be paid at its usual and customary charge which is generally the submitted charge.

Example 2: Compare to the facts that this same individual is involved in a motor vehicle accident in Florida on January 1, 2019 and is not transported to the Hospital. However, three days later they decide to go to the emergency room due to having neck and back pain related to the accident. Would these Hospital and physician services now be considered “emergency care”?  Under this amendment, it would not because the treatment was not initiated within 48 hours following the accident.

Now further compare these facts with the applicable schedule of maximum charges under Florida Statute §627.736(5) (2018) which states in pertinent part:

The insurer may limit reimbursement to 80 percent of the following schedule of maximum charges:

a. For emergency transport and treatment by providers licensed under chapter 401, 200 percent of Medicare.

b. For emergency services and care provided by a hospital licensed under chapter 395, 75 percent of the hospital’s usual and customary charges.

c. For emergency services and care as defined by s. 395.002 provided in a facility licensed under chapter 395 rendered by a physician or dentist, and related hospital inpatient services rendered by a physician or dentist, the usual and customary charges in the community.

d. For hospital inpatient services, other than emergency services and care, 200 percent of the Medicare Part A prospective payment applicable to the specific hospital providing the inpatient services.

e. For hospital outpatient services, other than emergency services and care, 200 percent of the Medicare Part A Ambulatory Payment Classification for the specific hospital providing the outpatient services.

In the situation listed in Example 2, the patient’s condition would not be considered “emergency care” and thus, payment would be made at 200 percent of the Medicare Part A prospective payment applicable to the specific hospital providing the inpatient services or 200 percent of the Medicare Part A Ambulatory Payment Classification for the specific hospital providing the outpatient services.

Conclusion

In order to maximize recovery without running afoul of the new fee schedule mandates of the 33rd Amendment, Florida medical providers treating patients covered by New York No-Fault policies must be cognizant of whether the service rendered meets the definition of “emergency care.” What this amendment does clarify is that if medical services are rendered in Florida under a PIP claim brought under a New York policy, then the maximum amount to be paid to the medical providers for these services would be limited to Florida’s schedule of maximum charges.

[1] Press Release, posted October 10, 2017, http://www.dfs.ny.gov/about/press/pr1710101.htm

[2] Id.

[3] Under the 33rd Amendment, in order to constitute emergency care, the treatment must be initiated within 48 hours of the motor vehicle accident.

This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship by offering this information, and anyone’s review of the information shall not be deemed to create such a relationship. The content provided is intended to provide information of general interest to the public and is not intended to offer legal advice about specific situations or problems. You should consult a lawyer with regard to specific law issues that require attention.

For additional information, please contact Stephen Mellor of Roig Lawyers at 954-354-1541 or by email at smellor@roiglawyers.com. Stephen G. Mellor is a partner in the Deerfield Beach office of Roig Lawyers who primarily focuses on out-of-state policy claims for insurance carriers. 

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Filed under Personal Injury Protection, PIP, Uncategorized

Crooked Opioid Treatment Center Owner Arrested for Insurance Fraud

James Durkin, owner of a Boynton Beach opioid treatment facility The Hope Center of Recovery, has been arrested for insurance fraud. Durkin was charged for allegedly submitting fraudulent insurance billing for over $104,000.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Insurance fraud at crooked addiction treatment centers fuels the ongoing opioid epidemic in Florida.” An investigation revealed Durkin’s was falsified billings to Cigna and United Health Care for addiction recovery treatments that were never performed.

Durkin faces up to 30 years in prison.

Click here to read the press release.

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Palm Beach County Business Owner Charged with Workers’ Compensation Fraud

According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Vanessa Arreguin, owner of V&G Concrete, Inc. was arrested in August for three felony counts of concealing payroll to avoid workers’ compensation premiums and two felony counts of application fraud. Arreguin claimed she made less than $50,000 will conducting more than $7.5 million in business to avoid paying $51,000 in workers’ compensation.

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis said, “Last year alone, our fraud detectives made more than 400 arrests for workers’ compensation fraud and I can assure you my office will continue to hold these individuals accountable.” Arreguin could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Click here to read the press release.

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Filed under Insurance Fraud, Uncategorized

Doctor Sent To Prison For Obstructing Medicare Audit

Dr. John Janick of Port Charlotte was sentenced to five months in prison and three years of parole for lying to during a Medicare audit. Dr. Janick lied to a Medicare program integrity contractor about office space that was being utilized by his wife Lisa McLaren Janick who was found guilty of health care fraud in another related case. Mrs. Janick used the office to gain access to sensitive patient data and generate bogus patient referrals from the Janick Medical Group to her third-party employer.

Click here to read the press release.

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Filed under Healthcare Fraud, Uncategorized