States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|June 1, 2011||
HARTFORD PHYSICIAN PAYS $2.2 MILLION
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that MARK W. IZARD, M.D., a physician with a medical practice located at 85 Seymour Street, Hartford, Connecticut, and MARK W. IZARD, P.C., his professional corporation, have entered into a civil settlement with the government in which they will pay $2.2 million to resolve allegations that IZARD violated the False Claims Act.
U.S. Attorney Fein explained that the allegations against IZARD involve fraudulent billing to Medicare and Medicaid for medical services allegedly provided at various Hartford-area nursing homes, as well as at Hartford Hospital. The government alleges that IZARD billed Medicare and Medicaid for services he supposedly provided to patients in nursing homes when the patients were, in fact, not present in the nursing homes. Instead, the patients had been transferred to local hospitals for treatment. Yet IZARD billed government health care programs as if he had provided medical services to the patients in the nursing homes.
In addition, the government alleges that IZARD improperly billed Medicare and Medicaid for medical services at Hartford Hospital that were actually provided by Hartford Hospital nurses and medical residents. IZARD would regularly bill for services when the medical note in the patients’ charts clearly indicated that the services in question were performed by Advanced Practice Registered Nurses or Hartford Hospital medical residents. It was IZARD’s regular practice to countersign the note in question and to not include his own note reflecting any services he allegedly performed as the attending physician.
Pursuant to these improper billing practices, IZARD was able to bill the government on numerous occasions for more than 24 hours of medical services in a single day.
To resolve their liability under the False Claims Act, IZARD and his professional corporation will pay $2.2 million, in order to reimburse the Medicare and Medicaid programs for conduct occurring between July 1, 2004 and April 30, 2009.
In addition, under the terms of the settlement agreement, IZARD and his professional corporation are excluded from Medicare, Medicaid, and all other federal health care programs, for a period of seven years. This exclusion has national effect and prohibits IZARD and his professional corporation from receiving payment from any federal health care program during the exclusion period. It also prohibits payment to any individual or entity, such as a hospital, which employs or contracts with IZARD, for any services furnished, ordered, or prescribed by IZARD.
“Physicians that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs must bill their services honestly, and the failure to do so increases the cost of health care for all of us,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “The U.S. Attorney’s office is committed to vigorously pursuing physicians and other health care providers who submit fraudulent claims to federal health care programs. Providers who submit false claims to the government face serious monetary sanctions and exclusion from the Medicare and Medicaid programs. I want to commend the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s Office, whose cooperative investigative efforts have returned a substantial sum of money to the government.”
“Medicare and Medicaid fraud should be a concern to every citizen,” said Jon-Paul Correira, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “The costs associated with this type of fraud compromise the integrity of these vital programs and negatively impact the healthcare burden for all of us. Our HHS OIG investigators will continue to work closely with our federal and state law enforcement partners to identify and investigate providers, including physicians, who will stop at nothing to loot the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
“This case is an example of the FBI’s continuing commitment to fulfilling its broad responsibilities in the fight against direct threats posed to the economic security of our country through health care fraud,” said Kimberly Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s New Haven Division. “This investigation highlights the effectiveness of joint working relationships that allow the FBI to identify and pursue offenders who seek to divert billions of dollars intended to provide care to the millions of elderly, sick, and disabled Americans who rely on the honesty and integrity of our health care system.”
This matter was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Richard M. Molot and Paul McConnell, along with Auditor Kevin A. Saunders.
In entering into the civil settlement agreement, IZARD and his professional corporation did not admit liability.
U.S. Attorney Fein encouraged individuals who suspect health care fraud to report it by calling the Health Care Fraud Task Force at (203) 785-9270 or 1-800-HHS-TIPS.
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