GRAND BLANC, Mich. (WJRT) – A physician from Grand Blanc will spend four years in federal prison and must repay over $8 million after pleading guilty to a complex health care fraud scheme.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit says 46-year-old Patrick Wittbrodt and others exploited high insurance reimbursement rates for prescription pain cream, scar cream, pain patches and vitamins by encouraging members of the United Auto Workers to take them.
Prosecutors say Wittbrodt and others came to UAW meetings from 2014 to 2017 to promote the remedies and told union members they could receive them at no charge. However, they did not tell UAW members that the treatments would cost their union health care fund large sums of money.
Dr. April Tyler, who also pleaded guilty in the scheme, used health insurance information provided by UAW members and their families to issue the prescriptions without conducting any medical assessment ahead of time.
Wittbrodt directed UAW members to fill their prescriptions at several pharmacies, which allegedly provided him kickbacks in exchange for the business. The pharmacies later refilled and bill the prescriptions whether patients requested them or not.
Each prescription cost about $15,000, which was billed to health insurance. Federal prosecutors say the scheme cost Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan over $7.3 million and Medicare over $900,000.
Wittbrodt has been ordered to repay those amounts as part of his sentence.
“The unlawful actions of these defendants diverted taxpayer dollars and medications from patients who actually needed them in order to line their own pockets,” said Acting United States Attorney Saima Mohsin.