Yesterday (June 27th) the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the two wound care company owners have been accused of accepting more than $330 million in kickbacks as part of a scheme to fraudulently bill Medicare for amniotic grafts. The report states that more than $900 million in bogus claims were submitted to Medicare for amniotic products applied to fewer than 500 patients. Yes, that is $1.8 million PER PATIENT.

A related Seattle Times report states that Nurse Practitioners were “pressured” to apply the wound grafts to elderly patients who didn’t need them, including hospice patients who died the same day they were treated or shortly thereafter. The owners of the wound care companies, Alexandra Gehrke and Jeffrey King, were arrested at the Phoenix airport as they were boarding a flight to London, perhaps attempting to flee the country. The article states that, “Gehrke and King lived lavishly off the scheme, prosecutors allege, citing luxury cars, a nearly $6 million home and more than $520,000 in gold bars, coins and jewelry.” Prosecutors said they seized more than $52 million from Gehrke’s personal and business bank accounts after her arrest.

If the allegations prove correct, it is safe to assume that some, if not most of those assets were bought with our taxpayer dollars. I don’t know if the seizure included the gifts from their February nuptials (photos of which are still available online) such as a $3,245 Leopard silk and wool throw, a $1,230 set of Louis Vuitton towels, and a 20-piece gold flatware set. As an FYI, if your wedding gift to the unhappy couple have not yet been mailed from the Dolce & Gabana store, you might want to see if you can return it.

If any nurse practitioners or physicians reading this post are currently being “pressured” to apply amniotic products to patients who do not need them and will not benefit from them, please just stop. I could be writing about you next, and frankly, without much sympathy.

You can find the court documents here: