In federal court in Lexington on Monday, the owner of an ambulance service in Breathitt County was sentenced for a year and a day in prison. And that’s only the beginning.
The sentence for Hershel Jay Arrowood was for submitting false bills to taxpayer-funded programs. Once the 12 months and one day behind bars have been served, he’ll then be serving on home detention for 12 months and one day.
In addition, Arrowood’s wife Lesa was sentenced by U. S. District Judge, Joseph M. Hood to 12 months and one day on probation, for helping handle the billing for the company, known as Arrow-Med Ambulance.
Also, Jay and Lesa Arrowood plus Arrow-Med Ambulance, Inc., agreed to repay nearly a quarter of a million dollars to Medicare and Medicad, along with facing potential judgment of several hundred thousand dollars in a related civil case. That’s according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, which noted the total amount owed to Medicare and Medicaid came up to $249,539.
Back on July 31, 2018, Jay and Lesa Arrowood, Arrow-Med Ambulance and Terry Herald, who helped manage the business, pleaded guilty to health care fraud in federal court in Lexington. At that time - according to the U. S. District Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky - Jay Arrowood owned and operated Arrow-Med since September 2012. The ambulance company gave some patients non-emergency transports to and from a dialysis clinic in Jackson. It stated that Jay, Lesa Arrowood and Terry Herald admitted they knew that Medicare would only pay for the transports if other forms of transportation endangered the patients’ health, or if the patients needed it.
It was mentioned back then that Jay and Herald admitted to submitting false claims between September 2012 and August 2015 to Medicare and Medicaid, while Lesa said she knowingly participated in the scheme in December 2013. The defendants further admitted that they knew those patients did not qualify for Medicare and Medicaid coverage for the ambulance services, and Arrow-Med’s “run sheets” – medical reports that documented the transports – were falsified to misrepresent the patients’ true medical condition. As a result of the scheme, Medicare and Medicaid were defrauded of $249,539.
According to the Herald-Leader, prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum that Arrow-Med billed Medicare 1,374 separate times for unnecessary ambulance trips for two patients – the only two patients at issue in the two charges included in the guilty pleas by Arrowood and others in the case. Three other patients that the company allegedly billed for transporting were listed in the initial charges, but as part of the plea agreement the federal government dropped those charges. It was mentioned in the indictment that Arrow-Med billed $1,800 for the runs at issue. The company, and Herald are scheduled to be sentenced later, and a fine on Arrow-Med could be imposed by Judge Hood.