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SF Acupuncturist Indicted On Multiple Charges Of Health Care Fraud

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A San Francisco acupuncturist has been indicted on multiple charges of health care fraud, as well as one charge of making false statements related to medical matters, the United States Attorney's office said.

The indictment, filed Thursday and unsealed Friday, alleges that 46-year-old Haichao Huang submitted claims for reimbursement to his patients' health insurance plans, asserting he provided reimbursable services and treatments when, in fact, he knew that the billings were false and not reimbursable.

Huang made an initial appearance Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero, and pleaded not guilty to all counts. He was subsequently released on bond. His next court appearance, a bond hearing, is set for Tuesday; Huang's first appearance before a district court judge is scheduled for March 22.

The indictment says Huang submitted requests for reimbursement for acupuncture and other treatments when, in fact, the patient had received either much shorter periods of treatment than claimed, or no treatment at all, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Huang is also accused of billing for treatments beyond what patients' health plans allowed (and not providing those services), and of submitting claims for services rendered on days when the patient beneficiaries were not seen and received no services at all - including days when Huang was not in California.

The alleged violations occurred between February 2013 and June 2018, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Huang is charged with six counts of health care fraud and one count of making a false statement relating to health care matters. If convicted on all seven counts, Huang faces a maximum of 65 years in prison, plus $1.75 million in fines.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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