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Doctor lands in prison in fraud case

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

A Fredericksburg-area podiatrist was sentenced last week for making false declarations to a grand jury about her participation in a Medicare fraud scheme.

Boston-based U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton sentenced Ilene Terrell, 65, to five months in prison, five months of home confinement and two years of supervised release. He also ordered her to pay a $15,000 fine.

Terrell pleaded guilty in January to four counts of making false declarations to a grand jury.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Massachusetts, Terrell lied to the grand jury about her role in falsifying patient medical records to induce Medicare to pay for claims for Orthofix bone-growth stimulator medical devices that did not meet Medicare’s payment guidelines.

According to court documents, Terrell was prescribing to some of her patients an Orthofix bone growth stimulator device and submitting claims for Medicare to pay for the stimulators. Medicare will pay for the stimulators, which can cost $4,000, only in cases where a broken bone isn’t fully healing after three or more months. Terrell was prescribing them before the three months were up, then changing patient records, with the collusion of the Orthofix representative.

As part of a broader federal fraud investigation into Orthofix, Terrell was subpoenaed by a grand jury, and asked if she was aware patient records had been changed. She lied, the court documents say, “emphatically denying that she manipulated patient records or that she was even aware that anyone had done so.”

She also lied to the grand jury about conversations she had with an Orthofix representative about the investigation, in which she allegedly told him, “If you guys take me out, you are never going to live to hear the end of it. If I roll on this, I am serious, heads are going to roll, heads are absolutely gonna roll.”

Several other people have been convicted in the federal government’s Orthofix investigation.

Orthofix eventually pleaded guilty to charges around its manipulation of doctors’ records for the bone stimulators, and agreed to pay $42 million.

According to Terrell’s website, she has practiced in the Fredericksburg area since 1986, and at one point served as chairman of the podiatry department at Mary Washington Hospital.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405