The owner of a Studio City clinic was sentenced Thursday to 37 months in federal prison for causing more than $11.5 million in bills to be submitted to healthcare benefit programs for unnecessary — and sometimes nonexistent — sleep studies, primarily for employees of United Parcel Service and Costco.
Anna Vishnevsky, 52, of Valley Village was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George H. Wu, who also ordered her to pay $2.74 million in restitution. Vishnevsky, who owned Atlas Diagnostic Services, pleaded guilty in November 2018 to one count of healthcare fraud.
From March 2014 until June 2016, Vishnevsky participated in a scheme to defraud healthcare benefit plans. She and others working at the defendant’s direction recruited patients to participate in sleep study testing at Atlas by offering them cash. She also offered them additional cash if they brought in other sleep study participants, including their co-workers and relatives, according to papers filed in Los Angeles federal court.
Vishnevsky recruited patients, knowing that no doctor had prescribed sleep study testing for them and regardless of whether the testing was medically necessary or appropriate. She did not score or interpret the data from the testing or send it to anyone who could score or interpret it, which is necessary for diagnosis and treatment.
She submitted insurance claims for sleep study testing performed on the recruited patients, listing physicians that had never treated the patients. She also billed not only for the one night of sleep study testing that the patients had purportedly undergone — regardless of medical necessity — but also for an additional, consecutive night of sleep study testing that was never performed, prosecutors said.
In total, Vishnevsky submitted more than $11.5 million in fraudulent insurance claims to healthcare benefit plans. She received $3 million on those claims, of which $2.74 million is still outstanding, evidence showed.
Vishnevsky’s criminal activity “victimized not only the plans, but also plan participants recruited into the scheme, as many of them have been required to pay back fraudulent insurance claims submitted using their names — on penalty of losing their health insurance,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.
A co-defendant, Eddie Hernandez, 46, of Torrance pleaded guilty in November 2018 to one count of healthcare fraud and is serving a 30-month federal prison sentence. Hernandez was a UPS driver who helped Vishnevsky recruit people to participate in the bogus sleep studies.