CSRA medical facilities accused in nationwide healthcare fraud investigation
Monday, July 17, 2017
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The acting United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia is calling the latest action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force the "largest ever health care fraud enforcement action."
112 doctors, nurses and medical professionals across the country facing charges for their alleged part in 1.3 billion dollars in false billings, according to the Attorney's office.
Three of the defendants are in the C.S.R.A.
The claims out of Hephzibah and Thomson go back to Dr. Firoz Patka who owns SouthCare Medical Center in Hephzibah, Thomson Pediatrics and Internal Medicine and Louisville Medical Center.
A lawsuit brought by the United States Attorney's Office claims Dr. Patka worked twice a week at his center in Hephzibah and once a week at his Thomson location.
The lawsuit goes on to allege when Patka was "absent" he would sign blank prescriptions for schedule II controlled substances that his physicians assistants would complete and prescribe without further review.
The lawsuit alleges the physicians assistants didn't have legal authority to issue schedule II controlled substances.
The U.S. District Attorney's office for the Southern District of Georgia already reached a $10,000 civil settlement with one of the three physicians assistants accused.
Just outside the CSRA in Statesboro, Atlantic Foot and Ankle is in trouble after a whistleblower lawsuit claimed the owner Dr. Melissa Robitaille fraudulently billed the government.
The lawsuit claims Dr. Robitaille would perform procedures not covered under TriCare or Medicare then fraudulently bill TriCare for a procedure that would get approval.
One of the highest settlements is for Augusta's Medical Villa Apothecary.
It totals $75,000.
We couldn't find the corresponding court documents for this case, but the summary from the U.S. attorneys office claims investigators found " certain pharmacists violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims to Medicare for drugs it did not dispense to patients."
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement "improper billing inflates costs and causes unnecessary waste in our healthcare system."