Unnecessary ambulance transportation of patients to their weekly dialysis treatments has become an all-to-frequent healthcare fraud and may have landed the director of operations of Royal Ambulance Services and First Choice EMS, Inc. of Dallas, Texas in jail. After pleading guilty, Shaun Outen faces up to five years in prison plus $250,000 fine and restitution for his part in the Medicare fraud scheme. Alleged co-conspirators Muhammed Nasiru Usman and David McNac are scheduled for trial in late April.
Dialysis transport fraud is particularly tempting for ambulance operators, because it provides a steady flow of income from patients who make weekly or often more frequent visits for dialysis treatments. Medicare will pay for transport to and from dialysis centers for qualifying patients, but only doctor prescribed bed-bound patients and patients requiring specialized EMS equipment or oxygen require an ambulance. The condition of such patients is difficult for HHS to monitor, however, and unscrupulous ambulance services charge Medicare the more expensive rate for ambulance rather than regular van services. This often ends in the ridiculous and undignified result of a patient walking out of her home and lying down on the gurney only to get up and walk into the dialysis treatment center upon arrival.