News and Press Releases

Satilla Regional Medical Center Pays

January 19, 2012

Government Alleged Hospital Submitted Claims for Worthless and Medically Unnecessary Services

WAYCROSS, GA: Satilla Health Services, Inc., d/b/a Satilla Regional Medical Center, has paid the United States $840,000 to settle allegations that it submitted false claims to the Government for medical procedures performed by Dr. Najam Azmat at Satilla that were worthless and not medically necessary.

The Government’s lawsuit, originally filed in July 2010, alleged that Satilla and Dr. Azmat, a surgeon on staff, submitted claims for endovascular procedures performed by Dr. Azmat in Satilla’s Heart Center that the physician was neither qualified nor properly credentialed to perform. As a result, at least one patient died, others were seriously injured, and many patients were unnecessarily endangered. The lawsuit was filed to recover the money paid to Satilla for the hospital services it provided that were related to Dr. Azmat’s endovascular procedures. The settlement announced today resolves the false claims allegations only against Satilla.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “the Department of Justice is committed to protecting the Medicare program and its beneficiaries from unscrupulous providers who place profits over quality health care. Through aggressive enforcement of the False Claims Act, the United States Attorney’s office will continue to protect the health and safety of the American public. Using available tools like qui tam lawsuits, this office will work to strengthen the integrity of the Medicare program by ensuring that American taxpayers do not pay for worthless services.”

The United States’ investigation of Satilla and Dr. Azmat resulted from a qui tam, or whistleblower lawsuit, filed by Lana Rogers, a nurse who formerly worked in Satilla’s Heart Center. As a result of today’s settlement, Ms. Rogers will receive a share of the settlement proceeds. Under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, a private party can file an action on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of any recovery.

United States Attorney Tarver praised the hard work and dedication of Kimberly Reinken, Investigator from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with Special Agent David Graupner of the Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edgar Bueno, and Trial Attorneys Arthur Di Dio and Justin Draycott from the Department of Justice, Civil Division.

For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.





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