Fort Worth osteopath Matt Kuper has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for his role in a $10 million healthcare fraud, which included an attempt to incinerate clinic records.
His sentencing follows a guilty plea in September to one count of conspiracy. According to court documents, he conspired with his wife Melissa Kuper and physical therapist Travis Couey to defraud Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE (the armed forces insurer). Kuper owns the Texas Center for Orthopedic and Spinal Disorders (TCOSD) and admitted that he fraudulently billed insurers for services that were never rendered, such as physical therapy and psychotherapy.
Meanwhile, he required patients to attend bogus appointments to receive Schedule II controlled substance prescriptions, which were illegally signed by his wife, who was not eligible to do so.
Because North Texas has some of the highest healthcare costs in the nation and is known for being a business-friendly state, fraud has proliferated over the past several years. The scams keep the federal Health Care Fraud Task Force, which has a branch in Dallas, busy. This operation is similar to other Fort Worth pill mills in that fraudulent appointments are made to allow the physician to bill insurance while prescribing drugs to those who don’t need them. Operation Wasted Daze went after at 49 co-conspirators in Fort Worth last October, discovering $18 million in fraud.
Kuper also submitted claims that the clinic made individual physical therapy plans, even though patients only received generic templates describing one-on-one therapy. Patients actually met in groups with an athletic trainer who was not qualified to perform therapy.
The fraudulent behavior didn’t end there. When Kuper billed insurers for 60-minute psychotherapy sessions, most patients only spoke to someone for 15-20 minutes. Often Kuper was out of the office during these appointments, and the staff patients spoke to were unqualified for therapy.
In just three years, the clinic submitted more than $10 million in Medicaid, Medicare, and TRICARE claims while claiming that he did more than 100 hours of work in a single 24 hour day. As authorities caught up with Kuper, he attempted to destroy clinic records in his home’s outdoor fireplace, which ended up burning down his house. Firefighters recovered charred records after the fire. He also accessed records and altered notes to cover his tracks.
In September, his wife and Couey received 18 and 36 months, respectively.