Mission Hills couple admits health care, income tax fraud

A Mission Hills husband and wife who operated a south Kansas City medical facility pleaded guilty today to health care and income tax fraud charges.

Carol Ann Ryser, 75, a medical doctor, and Michael Earl Ryser, 68, operated Health Centers of America, which was closed Thursday as part of Friday’s plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Kansas City.

The clinic specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases such as Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome, according to its website, and has been the subject of a number of civil lawsuits filed in Jackson County.

As a plea condition, Carol Ryser surrendered her medical license and never can seek licensing to practice medicine in the United States. She also is precluded from involvement with any medical clinic, hospital or other health care provider, according to federal prosecutors.

In their guilty pleas, the Rysers admitted that they falsified claims made to private and government insurance providers.

Prosecutors said the clinic billed for physician office visits when Carol Ryser was out of town, billed for physician office visits when she had “little or no involvement” with the patient, billed for office visits when the only patient contact was by telephone, improperly billed for consulting services and billed for intravenous services that were supposed to be supervised by a doctor when no doctor was on duty, according to the indictment.

They will have to make restitution of nearly $52,000 as part of the agreement.

The Rysers also admitted to filing a false tax return for 2006.

The agreement calls for Michael Ryser to receive a prison sentence of 24 to 30 months. Carol Ryser will be placed on probation for three years and must serve six months of home detention.

Sentencing dates will be scheduled after pre-sentence reports are completed.