News and Press Releases

Podiatrist Agrees to Settle Allegations That He Defrauded the Medicare Program by Submitting Inflated Claims for Payment

November 17, 2009

Dr. Patrick Grisafi has agreed to pay over $300,000 to the United States to resolve allegations that he violated the federal False Claims Act by submitting falsely inflated claims to the Medicare program, announced Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Thomas O’Donnell, Special Agent-in-Charge, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, New York Regional Office (HHS-OIG).

The government began its investigation after one of Dr. Grisafi’s former podiatric residents filed a civil complaint against him in the Eastern District of New York on behalf of the United States. Under the False Claims Act, a private individual who has uncovered fraud against the government may file a suit on behalf of the United States. If the United States is successful in resolving or litigating those claims, the person who originally made the allegations may share in part of the recovery.

The civil complaint alleged that Dr. Grisafi instructed residents that he supervised at various nursing homes in Brooklyn and Queens to perform certain podiatric procedures. However, instead of billing the Medicare program for procedures actually performed, Dr. Grisafi allegedly billed the Medicare program for more expensive procedures that were not performed.

Following its investigation of the allegations raised by the complaint, the United States alleged in the settlement agreement that between 2000 and 2005, Dr. Grisafi, through the professional corporations that he owned and operated, submitted to Medicare “upcoded” and inflated charges for podiatric services that he and podiatric residents performed at the nursing homes. The settlement amount of $310,272 represents twice the damages allegedly incurred by the Medicare program. In settling the case, Dr. Grisafi has not admitted to engaging in the conduct at issue.

“We will aggressively investigate allegations of fraud on the Medicare program to ensure that the federal monies that contribute to this important program are being used properly and that those who have committed fraud are held accountable,” stated United State Attorney Campbell.

HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge O’Donnell stated, “Today’s settlement sends a strong message to all those planning to take advantage of the Medicare program and taxpayers. We will tirelessly work with our law enforcement partners to protect the nation’s citizens and public health care programs.”

The government’s case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly Horan Florio and Erin E. Argo.

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