In a federal court decision today, 40-year-old Amber Ashley Price of San Antonio received a 10-year probation sentence and a $200,000 fine for her involvement in a healthcare kickback scheme. The charges were related to her activities between June 2014 and April 2019.
Court documents revealed that Price, an employee of Kindred Home Health, engaged in a conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks in exchange for directing prescriptions to specific pharmacies. Some of these prescriptions were covered by federal insurance programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, and TRICARE. Additionally, Price referred patients to other home health agencies in the San Antonio area in exchange for kickback payments, and at least some of these patients were Medicare beneficiaries.
U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas emphasized the impact of illegal kickbacks on the healthcare system, stating, "Illegal kickbacks are a hidden drain on our healthcare system. They raise costs and prevent patient choice. This case reinforces our ongoing commitment to policing this all too common practice and ensuring the integrity of our public health insurance programs."
Special Agent in Charge Oliver E. Rich Jr. for the FBI San Antonio Division highlighted the collaborative efforts to combat healthcare fraud. "The FBI and our law enforcement partners are working hard every day to protect patients and federal health care programs from fraud and abuse," Rich said. "Amber Price knew what she was doing was unethical and illegal. Today’s sentence sends a message to those who would use kickbacks and fraudulent schemes to take advantage of the health care system, that these types of crimes will not be tolerated."
Christopher Patrick Cruz, a codefendant in the case and owner of a medical marketing business, is scheduled to be sentenced on November 21. Cruz conspired with Price to increase the volumes of prescriptions for specific pharmacies.