A Florida cardiology practice that operates in Central Florida and ten of its physicians agreed to pay $2 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by submitting inflated claims to Medicare and Medicaid and for billing while the physicians were outside the United States.
The settlement grew out of a whistleblower complaint filed against Florida Cardiology, P.A., doctors Sandeep Bajaj, Karan Reddy, and eight other physicians identified as Abbas Ali, Claudio Manubens, Milan Kothari, Saroj Tampira, Sayed Hussain, Raviprasad Subraya, Harish Patil, and Edwin Martinez. The case was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
According to the lawsuit, Drs. Bajaj and Reddy billed for more intravascular stents than were implanted into patients; Dr. Bajaj also billed for radiofrequency ablations that were not performed by him, or in some instances, were not performed by a qualifying provider. All ten physician-defendants also caused Florida Cardiology to bill for procedures and services while they were outside the United States.
The settlement resolves a lawsuit originally filed by relators Derrick Graham and Jesse Frauenhofer. They sued under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the FCA, which allows private citizens to sue on behalf of the United States for false claims and to share in the recovery. The United States intervened and prosecuted the action. The relators will receive $420,000 of the proceeds from the settlement.
Settlements and judgements under the False Claims Act totaled more than $2.2 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2022, according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Justice earlier this month. There were 351 settlements and judgements, the second highest number in a single year.
Of the more than $2.2 million, more than $1.7 billion related to matters involving the healthcare industry, including drug and medical device manufacturers, durable medical equipment, home health and managed care providers, hospitals, pharmacies, hospice organizations, and physicians. The recoveries also reflected the department’s focus on new enforcement priorities, including fraud in pandemic relief programs and alleged violations of cybersecurity requirements in government contracts and grants.
The Health Law Offices of Anthony C. Vitale represents clients who file and who become the target of whistleblower lawsuits. Our team of highly skilled attorneys also represents clients charged under the False Claims Act. For more information, contact us at 305-358-4500 or email email@example.com.