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Getting 'round the law again?

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Two years ago, Jerome Feldman's Orlando mental-health clinic was shut down by fire, health and building inspectors. Little therapy seemed to be going on at the clinic, but Feldman nonetheless had collected more than $1 million from Medicare. Subsequently, Feldman was barred from billing Medicare and Medicaid for any more money.

So, it makes sense that the St. Petersburg Times is wondering how Feldman is being paid for the AIDS clinic he's been running in that city for the past nine months.

Changes in Medicare law in 1990 opened the door for nonprofit providers to be reimbursed for mental-health services. Yet the law never created an oversight authority.

"Hundreds of patients got service. I got the black eye," Feldman told Orlando Weekly after his clinic got shut down.

The St. Petersburg clinic doesn't have its own Medicaid provider number, and without that, doctors must be accepted into the program before they can submit bills. They can't bill under another doctor's name.

Feldman's computer files have been seized by investigators with the Florida attorney general's office, who would not comment on the St. Petersburg clinic.


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