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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Another Allergy Scam

These things seem to come in clusters. Just a few days ago I warned you about a dangerous purveyor of nonsense in Beware Allergy Scam - Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET).

Today I found this bothersome story in the Gary Post-Tribune, 'Allergy' scam tab stunned patients by Carolina Procter.

When Barbara Doepping received her allergy test results indicating allergies to dogs and dairy products, she wrinkled her nose, but not because she had to sneeze.

She had a Yorkshire terrier for years and never reacted. She ate yogurt and cottage cheese all the time without trouble.

Now, more than two years later, the 59-year-old Hobart woman learned the doctors who oversaw the testing were indicted on federal charges for giving people unnecessary allergy shots and netting $1.5 million in insurance payments over seven years.

Doctors Oranu Ibekie of Merrillville and Hartley Thomas of Valparaiso face multiple counts of wire fraud for their alleged participation in the scam.

After learning of the indictment last week, Doepping and other area residents talked about how the doctors' alleged scam operation convinced them to have their allergies tested and then billed their insurance companies for as much as $1,500 each.


Seven years! These scammers have been getting away with it since 2000.

No more. Federal agents busted them last week.

The Chicago Tribune reported:
Hundreds of people seeking allergy treatment were scammed into believing they were getting free tests in a scheme that cost insurance companies more than $1.5 million and put patients' health at risk, federal prosecutors have charged.

On Thursday morning, federal agents arrested John Froelich, a 49-year-old nurse from Harwood Heights, and Paul Kocourek, 53, of Chicago.

Eight other people, including four doctors, also were charged in the alleged scheme.

Froelich is accused of leading the scam through a group of companies he operated as the American Institute of Allergy, which allegedly charged patients' insurance companies for tests it advertised as free.

The four doctors charged are Edgar Vargas, of Arlington Heights; Oranu Ibekie, of Merrillville, Ind.; Hartley Thomas, of Valparaiso, Ind.; and Robert Tully, of Mesa, Ariz.

...

During that time, patients who tested positive for allergies were prescribed allergy shots, often without being evaluated by a doctor, prosecutors charged.

In many cases, untrained employees of the allergy institute gave patients the shots under unsanitary conditions, the indictment charged.

Moreover, patients frequently weren't warned of significant health risks they could face from the shots, prosecutors alleged.

Needless to say, there is no American Institute of Allergy other than these operators.

If you have received any "testing" or "treatment" from the American Institute of Allergy, you should contact the authorities. The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago has set up a toll-free line. The number is 866-364-2621.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is adorable. Interestingly enough, your local Walgreens does the same thing. Shots and testing, billing your insurance. Why don't you go piss on their wall as well?