Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Agilon Health Doctor Kickbacks Bring Rick Scott to Mind

Anti-kickback healthcare laws are front and center again.

Citron Research published on Agilon Health (NYSE: AGL — $10.2 billion), a primary care company focused on the elderly. Citron alleged that Agilon was “finding ways to insert themselves into the transaction between physicians and Medicare” and used ~$270 million in stock grants to incentivize physician groups onto its platform. Citron questioned whether these stock grants violated anti-kickback laws and harmed the system. For example, Citron highlighted an investigation from the California Department of Managed Health Care about fraudulent claims and a whistleblower complaint alleging Agilon delayed medical care for a cancer patient to save money. Citron predicted the company will “be a fraction of itself five years from now as the government dynamically changes Medicare law and increases enforcement on middlemen.”  

Agilon Health's roots are in private equity having gone public last year.  It was founded in 2016 and owned by Clayton, Dubilier and Rice, a New York based private equity underwriter (PEU).

Senator Rick Scott (Red Team-Florida) pioneered busting bans on the corporate practice of medicine and circumventing anti-kickback regulations as CEO of Columbia/HCA.  That earned the hospital giant a $1.7 billion fine.

The Center for Ethical Organizational Cultures at Auburn University reported on Rick Scott's lack of ethics

In 1997 the federal government launched an investigation into the company’s business practices.  Columbia/HCA eventually pleaded guilty to 14 felonies and paid over $1.7 billion in fines for committing fraud, falsely billing Medicare, and violating federal anti-kickback laws. It was the largest healthcare fraud case ever prosecuted in America. 

In order to encourage referrals, Columbia/HCA provided doctors with incentives such as reduced or free rent, high-paid consulting jobs, free vacations, low-cost pharmaceuticals, and free stock in local hospitals.
Corporate watch dog INFACT publicly challenged the company’s practices,inducting Columbia/HCA into its “Hall of Shame” of corporations that manipulate public policy tothe detriment of public health.
Senator Scott resigned in disgrace yet kept his vast fortune rooted in misdeeds.  That propelled him to the title of the richest U.S. Senator.  

The Palm Beach Post reported on Rich Rick Scott's name calling:

“Think about this. Biden’s a rich kid. His whole life has been paid for by your tax dollars. Has no idea how to deal with inflation, no plan to deal with inflation,” Scott said with an apparent straight face.

Sen. Scott's criticism/description of President Biden is, well, rich, coming from a man who is the nation's wealthiest senator. (Much of that wealth, generated by a company convicted of stealing $1.5 billion from the government while he was in charge.)

The big money wash that occurs between connected members of both political parties remains at 100 year flood stage. 

Politicians Red and Blue love PEU and increasingly, more are one.  

Update 8-7-22:  Mammon pursuing Rick Scott called his political opponents "evil."  Sinner Scott has a history of violating "Thou shall not steal."

Update 8-20-22:   The National Red Team Senatorial Committee has gone through funds at a rapid pace.  It spent $9 million on debt payments.  How much of that went to rich candidates who loaned their campaign money?  How many of those are former PEUs?

Update 8-22-22:  Rick Scott is on one of Mammon's yachts in the Mediterranean during the Congressional break.