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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

Oct. 27, 2011

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

Houston Chiropractor Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud Conspiracy

HOUSTON – Justina Okehie aka Dr. Tina Collins, 55, of Richmond, Texas, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

The conspiracy resulted in fraudulent physical therapy and chiropractic claims being paid by the Medicare and the Texas Medicaid programs. From January 2007 through August 2010, Medicare and Medicaid paid approximately $2.1 million to Okehie.

Okehie owned and operated Adom Rehabilitation Services and Healthcare and Wellness Medical Center which were both located in southwest side Houston. As part of the conspiracy, Okehie would pay patient recruiters to refer Medicare beneficiaries to her clinics. Okehie also paid the Medicare beneficiaries themselves for just showing up at the clinics. In many instances, the physical therapy and chiropractic services billed to the government health care programs were not performed and were not medically necessary. Some of the Medicare beneficiaries were actually receiving medical services at inpatient hospital facilities at the time Okehie was purportedly providing them physical therapy and chiropractic services in her clinics. 

Co-defendant Cassandra Tasby Barnes, 48, of Houston, who was employed by Barnes as an office manager, had previously pleaded guilty in this case to one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statute. Barnes pleaded guilty for her role in paying Medicare beneficiaries and patient recruiters for referring Medicare beneficiaries for physical therapy and chiropractic services. Both Okehie and Barnes are currently on bond and are scheduled to be sentenced on May 21, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas.   

The investigation into Adom Rehabilitation and Healthcare and Wellness Medical Center was the result of joint efforts by agents and investigators of the Inspector General’s Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Railroad Retirement Board and the FBI. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Blan and Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger are prosecuting this case.