What’s in a name? A lot. Just ask All-Med

Sunday, November 21, 2004

November 22, 2004

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. - All-Med Services of Florida ran into all kinds of problems recently when another All-Med  - this one a billing company - ended up on the wrong side of a fraud investigation.
On Oct. 21, the Miami Herald ran a story on healthcare fraud in which it recounted the alleged fraudulent billing practices of a company named All-Med Billing Corp. The Herald quoted an FBI agent who alleged that Abner and Mabel Diaz used All-Med Billing to implement a “massive, aggressive avaricious Medicare fraud scheme” that resulted in Medicare paying several dozen of their DME clients $122 million over about four months. 
After the story ran, All-Med Services of Florida’s phone began to ring, and ring and ring.
“The first people to call were people affiliated with our president -   the banker, the insurance company,” said company compliance officer Margherita Labson. “Then we got phone calls from the clients, going ‘Listen, I was just reading the herald this morning and I see where you are under indictment.’ We said, ‘No! No! No! That’s All-Med Billing. We are All-Med Services.’”
Not only did the two companies have similar names, they both had mailing address in Miami Lakes, which only added to the confusion.
On Nov. 1, the Herald ran a letter to the editor from Labson, who tried to explain the mix up, On Nov. 12, the newspaper ran a short correction. Better late than never, said Labson, adding that the phone calls eventually stopped.
“I’m not aware of any patients that we lost as a result of the article,” she said. “But a light bulb went on for me. It takes a long time to nurture that client-provider relationship, but you can lose it in a moment.”