Two Montana nurse practitioners have been sentenced to prison after conspiring to defraud Medicare out of over $8 million between them.

Public Information Officer Clair Johnson Howard with the The United States Attorney’s Office of Montana reported on Friday that 34 year-old Janae Nichole Harper of Kalispell and 54 year-old Mark Allen Hill of North Dakota were sentenced to less than a year in prison, but are required to reimburse Medicare for nearly $13 million.

Harper was a licensed nurse practitioner in Montana, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina and Wyoming and was enrolled as a medical provider with Medicare.  Hill was a licensed nurse practitioner in Montana, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington.

The two conspired with various companies to sign brace orders that were prepared by telemarketers with no medical training or certification.

Harper signed approximately 7,700 brace orders, which resulted in $8,259,849 billed to Medicare, of which Medicare paid approximately $4,307,934. Harper was paid at least $94,395 for the orders she signed.

Hill worked with various companies to sign unnecessary brace orders for Medicare beneficiaries regardless of medical necessity, often without ever talking to the Medicare beneficiary to determine whether the braces were medically necessary.  Hill signed approximately 7,097 brace orders, which resulted in $10,055,436 billed to Medicare, of which Medicare paid approximately $5,054,866. Hill was paid at least $124,900 for the orders he signed.

Both Harper and Hill pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

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