Webster City doctor admits to false statements about claims

WEBSTER CITY — A Webster City doctor has admitting to making false statements to the United States Attorney’s Office about Medicare claims.

Seventy-six-year-old Joseph Latella admitted to lying about the claims he billed so he could be paid at the highest rate possible when he worked in private practice and as the medical director for several nursing homes in the Webster City area.

The U.S. Attorney’s investigation found that Latella was billing more than 93% of his nursing home visits to Medicare under the most expensive claim code, and then falsely claimed he spent the time required for that level of billing.

Doctor Latella reached a plea agreement where he will pay around $108,000 to Medicare and $9,200 to Medicaid for losses caused by his false claims. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 once a sentencing date has been set.