Doctor accused of $5.2 million in Medicaid fraud

May 23, 2012 5:11:56 AM PDT
A Houston physician is on trial in federal court for what prosecutors say is more than $5.2 million in phony Medicare home health claims for hundreds of patients who didn't need the care.

Records introduced in the trial that began this week show Dr. Ben Echols approved home health care services for 352 patients and never saw 200 of them before he approved the services. At least one patient received benefits for 2 1/2 years before he was seen by a doctor.

Echols' signature was on hundreds of forms submitted to home health care companies who then requested Medicare reimbursement.

The Houston Chronicle reports Echols' lawyer acknowledges the physician isn't the best manager in the world but has violated no rules or laws and is a good doctor.