On March 23, 2023, The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Dr. William Lawrence Siefert and Dr. Timothy Ehn were convicted of health care fraud. Dr. Ehn was also convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
According to the government, Dr. Siefert and Dr. Ehn orchestrated a fraud using a pain clinic, Northern Kentucky Center for Pain Relief, owned by Dr. Ehn. The clinic employed Dr. Seifert. As part of the scheme, the two providers were accused of billing Medicaid for millions in medically unnecessary urinalysis testing, some of which were supposedly conducted using faulty machinery.
The DOJ announced Dr. Siefert and Dr. Ehn’s indictments in February 2021, two-years before the convictions. Interestingly, according to the indictment announcement, the government accused the providers of orchestrating a health care fraud scheme that involved actions beyond improper billing of medically unnecessary urinalysis (the actions resulting in convictions), including offering drug-seeking patients access to opioids. The indictment also alleges that Dr. Siefert and Dr. Ehn’s illegal opioid prescribing was a contributing factor in opioid deaths of at least six former patients. The government’s announcement did not detail how or to what extent the alleged prescriptions contributed to the patients’ overdoses. In the indictment, Dr. Siefert was charged with three counts of health care fraud and eleven counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and clonazepam. He was also charged with one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Dr. Ehn was charged with eight counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances, and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The indictment levies more charges than the providers were actually convicted of in federal court.
The charges in the indictment compared to the convictions could lead some to view the ultimate outcome as relatively favorable for the providers. However, outcome favorability is subjective. Despite not being convicted for all charges levied in the indictment, the providers still face the possibility of significant sentences in federal prison. Dr. Siefert faces up to 10 years in prison for one count of health care fraud. Dr. Ehn faces up to 10 years in prison for health care fraud conspiracy and up to 10 years in prison for one count of health care fraud. The federal district court judge will consider federal sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors before sentencing the providers to prison, so it’s possible that the providers may not receive the maximum sentence.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with white-collar criminal and federal investigations. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.