After 30 years as CEO of one of Houston’s most historic hospitals, Earnest Gibson III, his son, and five others, was arrested yesterday, part of a national federal Medicare fraud sweep involving $430 million in bogus billings and 91 health care providers in seven states, the Houston Chronicle reports. The allegations that Gibson, 68, and others bilked the Medicare program of $158 million over more than seven years could prove lethal for Riverside, once the primary hospital for the city’s black population.
Dozens of people were arrested or surrendered as indictments were unsealed nationwide. Riverside’s previously indicted assistant administrator pleaded guilty in February. Riverside hospital employees were accused of paying up to $3,200 in cash to “patient recruiters.” The recruiters, in turn, would pay Houston-area group-home owners to send patients to Riverside’s satellite clinics offering “partial hospitalization programs” for the mentally ill. U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), and Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos contacted Medicare authorities three years ago about explosive fraud in Houston.