A prominent Maryland doctor in charge of COVID-19 testing at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport and elsewhere has been accused by federal prosecutors of overcharging Medicare and other insurers by more than $1.5 million.
Ron Elfenbein, 47, who was presented an award last August by Gov. Larry Hogan for his efforts during the pandemic, allegedly overbilled for COVID-19 tests in combination with "more lucrative, but medically unnecessary" services, according to a grand jury indictment reported by the Washington Post, which notes that these services "were purportedly of a 30-minute or longer duration, or involving moderate or high levels of medical decision-making, but did not in fact occur as represented."
The indictment alleges Elfenbein knew many patients were being seen for less than five minutes but directed staffers to bill for the higher-level services anyway, saying they were “the ‘bread and butter’ of how we get paid.”
The indictment, which charges Elfenbein with three counts of health-care fraud, identifies him as an owner and medical director of Drs ERgent Care, a company that also does business under the names First Call Medical Center and Chesapeake ERgent Care.
According to Elfenbein's lawyer, Mikle Lawlor, "In the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Ron Elfenbein rallied his doctor’s office in a time of global fear, to be a leading provider of coronavirus testing and treatment in the community," adding " … A trial in this case will prove not only that Dr. Elfenbein is innocent of the charges hastily brought by the government, but that during a time of unprecedented need, Dr. Elfenbein and his staff saved the lives of numerous Marylanders."
The indictment identifies Elfenbein with three counts of healthcare fraud, and identifies him as an owner and medical director of a company called "Drs ERgent Care," which also does business under "First Call Medical Center and Chesapeake ERgent Care."
Read about the entire tangled web here.