Former Alabama Rep. Ed Henry to plead guilty in federal Medicare fraud case
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Former Hartselle-area Rep. Ed Henry has told a federal court he plans to plead guilty in connection to charges stemming from a complex Medicare overbilling and kickback scheme.
Court records show Henry’s trial was set to begin on Feb. 4 and he entered the change of plea motion – from not guilty to guilty Wednesday – “based on a plea agreement” with federal prosecutors.
Henry, who was among the first legislators to call for Gov. Robert Bentley’s indictment, was charged with participating in an overbilling scheme where his company, MyPractice24, Inc., provided chronic care management services to elderly, seriously ill patients that included non-face to face consultations, arranging appointments and calling in prescription refills.
On the day his indictment was reported on June 7, Henry defended himself in a Facebook message:
The indictment alleges Henry and a Montgomery family practice doctor worked out a scheme where the practice would refer patients to Henry in exchange for kickbacks to the doctor.
The indictment alleges thousands of dollars overbilling from around March 2016 to March 2017.
Henry charged the doctor substantially less than the previous firm that had the chronic care services contract, the indictment alleges, which enabled more patient referrals.
Meanwhile, federal rules require that patients in the chronic care management program pay a co-payment for services.
Henry’s company, the indictment claims, would bill Medicare for the chronic care services and falsely claim the patients were paying co-pays. The co-pays claim meant Henry’s company would receive a higher reimbursement from Medicare than if the patients didn’t pay the co-payment.
Henry’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges in June, arguing they were overly complex and his conduct wasn’t criminal, but a judge ruled the federal case against Henry to proceed.
The indictment contains several charges from conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, violations of anti-kickback statutes, health care fraud and it’s not clear what Henry will plead guilty to as part of his plea agreement.