FL Doctor & Practice Settles False Medicare Claims for Over $2M; Whistleblowers to Get $1.3M

Posted: 07/01/2016  browse the blog archive
FL Doctor & Practice Settles False Medicare Claims for Over $2M; Whistleblowers to Get $1.3M

Florida cardiologist Dr. Asad Qamar and his practice, the Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence (ICE), will pay $2 million, plus release any claim to $5.3 million in suspended Medicare funds, to resolve a lawsuit alleging that they improperly billed Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE for medically unnecessary procedures and paid kickbacks to patients by waiving Medicare copayments irrespective of financial hardship, the U.S. Department of Justice announced yesterday.  Dr. Qamar also agreed to a three-year period of exclusion from participating in any federal health care program followed by a three-year   Integrity Agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG). 

The settlement resolves the government’s lawsuit claiming that Dr. Qamar and ICE billed Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE for excessive, medically unnecessary and inadequately documented peripheral artery interventional services and related procedures.  Many of the cardiovascular procedures for which Dr. Qamar and ICE billed Medicare and the other programs were not indicated by patients’ medical histories or records, or the severity of the patients’ symptoms. 

The government also alleged that to help facilitate this false billing scheme, Dr. Qamar and ICE routinely and indiscriminately waived the 20 percent Medicare copayment, irrespective of the patient’s financial need.  Medicare copayments assure that patients have an incentive to be smart healthcare consumers and avoid unnecessary procedures.  By waiving the required copayments indiscriminately, Dr. Qamar and ICE induced patients to agree to unnecessary and invasive procedures and other services.

The allegations resolved by today’s settlement were originally raised in two lawsuits filed pursuant to the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private parties to sue on behalf of the government when they discover evidence that defendants have submitted false claims for government funds and to receive a share of any recovery.  The False Claims Act also permits the government to intervene in such lawsuits, as it has done in these cases.  The relators Dr. Robert A. Green and Ms. Holly A. Taylor will receive $1,327,721 as their share of the settlement.

The Chanler Group, in association with the Hirst Law Group, represents whistleblowers who take action under the False Claims Act to report fraud committed against the federal and state governments.  We have years of experience representing whistleblower clients who expose every kind of fraud against the government, including health care fraud, contract fraud, and tax fraud.  Read more about our expertise in False Claims Act cases and how you can take action.