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California regulators suspend 21 more workers comp doctors

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Regulators have suspended 21 more workers compensation providers in California, bringing the total this year to 115 doctors who are barred from treating injured workers in the state, the California Division of Workers’ Compensation announced on Monday.

The suspensions comply with A.B. Bill 1244, which went into effect Jan. 1, and requires the division’s administrative director to suspend any medical provider, physician or practitioner from participating in the workers comp system in cases that involve criminal activity or inability to perform duties safely, among other requirements.

Of the latest round of suspensions, five were involved in an illegal kickback schemes involving Medicare, according to statement from the regulator.

Of those five, three Long Beach, California, providers participated in a scheme to issue unnecessary prescriptions for durable medical equipment to Medicare patients. George Samuel Laing, manager and operator of Pacific Clinic, along with co-conspirators Augustus Ohemeng and George Tarryk, both physicians, and medical equipment supplier Emmanuel Chidueme were all convicted in 2013.

Los Angeles-based  providers participating in a similar scheme to bill Medicare for home health care services that were not provided were also suspended after their convictions: Sang Ahn, a provider, and Yeong Ja Lee, a home health care employee with Greatcare Home Health.