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If Fall River psychiatrist Kennard Kobrin were to lay down on his own couch and relate his problems, it would take a lot of time – because Kobrin’s got some mighty big problems. Most notably, the very real possibility of a trip to jail.
Kobrin has been arraigned for his alleged role in defrauding the Medicaid system, illegally prescribing drugs to seven patients and taking kickbacks totaling nearly $600,000 annually. The charges are in connection with his two Fall River-based psychiatric businesses.
Kobrin, of Barrington, Rhode Island, was arraigned on 82 alleged violations, including Medicaid fraud, illegally dispensing a Class C controlled substance, dispensing to an undercover state trooper (oops!) and soliciting or receiving kickback payments from his tenants in his capacity as a psychiatrist and owner of the Psychiatric Southeast Corporation and PSE-COR Provider, Inc., both of Fall River.
Kobrin is accused of defrauding the Medicaid system from 1992 to 1997 by repeatedly prescribing medically unnecessary tranquilizers, such as Valium, to known substance abusers. In order to receive the drugs, authorities believe Kobrin’s patients were required to undergo multiple sessions of testing performed by psychologists who allegedly paid Kobrin up to $3,000 a month in “rent.” In turn, the Medicaid program paid the psychologists between $500 and $600 for each testing session, totaling nearly $1.8 million over the five-year period in which the violations took place.
Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) investigators allege that during the past five years, Kobrin himself was paid more than $1 million by the Medicaid programs. An audit of those claims revealed Kobrin provided psychotherapy to as many as 68 Medicaid recipients in a single day. (Long day!)
Further investigation into Kobrin’s businesses revealed that many of his patients were allegedly subjected to repeated psychological testing that was not based on clinical or administrative requirements. Such testing created a false justification for the prescribed drugs. The $600,000 in so-called rental payments (from the examining psychologists) during that period, ensured that his patients continued their eligibility for welfare benefits.
In addition, if the allegations that Kobrin collected money from the psychologists for expanding the amount of patients are proven to be true, he would be in violation of the Medicaid anti-kickback statute which prohibits physicians from seeking or accepting payments in return for making referrals.
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