Liberation Way Doctor Pleads Guilty To Health Care Fraud
PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Dr. Domenick Braccia, 57, of Perkasie, PA entered a plea of guilty before Judge Wendy Beetlestone on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The charges against the defendant stem from federal and state investigations into an elaborate insurance fraud scheme involving a Bucks County-based addiction treatment center, Liberation Way.
Dr. Braccia served as the Medical Director of Liberation Way, and, as the sole doctor, was the head of medical treatment at all three of its facilities. As such, he was tasked with overseeing the care of all the patients seeking addiction treatment, ordering all medically necessary tests, evaluating the results of all medical tests and incorporating their results into any treatment plan, prescribing medications, and overseeing the staff who were tasked with other non-medical therapy and care of patients. However, Braccia did not provide the amount of medical care that was billed to insurance companies in his name, and he never even stepped foot in one of the three treatment centers that billed in his name.
Instead, Braccia signed blank forms and patient orders, averred to the medical necessity of testing for patients whom he never saw, prescribed for patients he did not see, and signed blank prescription forms. As a consequence, insurance companies lost millions of dollars paying for care that was not provided by Braccia, and patients did not receive the individualized medical care they needed.
State and federal criminal charges were announced in March 2019 against eleven people and nine businesses in connection with this health care fraud case. The investigation revealed an array of health care fraud schemes committed by individuals associated with Liberation Way, which is based in Yardley, Bucks County and has two other locations in Bala Cynwyd and Fort Washington, Montgomery County. These schemes included Braccia’s over-billing scheme as well as an elaborate kick-back scheme involving thousands of medically-unnecessary urine tests which were sent to the Florida-based laboratories for analysis.
“This prosecution and today’s guilty plea should send a clear message to those seeking to build their fortunes on fraud and the despair of individuals battling addiction: health care fraud and the opioid epidemic are major priorities for the United States Attorney’s Office, and your illegal actions will be uncovered and prosecuted,” said First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams.
“This doctor was responsible for overseeing the medical care of people suffering from opioid addiction, and instead he conspired to commit fraud by signing blank prescription forms and attesting to treatment for patients he did not see,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “He did these acts to help perpetrate a massive insurance fraud that lined the pockets of Liberation Way’s founders and co-conspirators with millions of dollars. I am grateful for our partners in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and other agencies in Pennsylvania and Florida for their hard work in bringing this defendant to justice.”
“At Liberation Way, medical practices were shoddy and substantive treatment minimal,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Dr. Braccia abrogated his professional ethics and responsibilities in order to line his pockets and is now being held accountable for his actions. The FBI will continue to make health care fraud investigations a priority, to the benefit of both patients and taxpayers.”
“This case demonstrates the commitment of the OPM OIG, the Department of Justice, and our law enforcement partners to ensuring that federal health care programs, including the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, are protected from fraud and abuse,” said Thomas W. South, Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, U.S. Office of Personnel Management. “I am immensely proud of the work our office has done to not only safeguard taxpayer dollars, but also protect the health and wellbeing of federal employees, annuitants, and their families.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Department of Labor, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Beam Winter.