Danbury Physician and Mental Health Practice Pay $36,000 to Settle False Claims Act Allegations
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ANTON FRY, M.D. and CPC ASSOCIATES, INC. have entered into a civil settlement agreement with the federal government in which they will pay $36,704 to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act.
DR. FRY, a psychiatrist, founded CPC ASSOCIATES, a mental health practice with offices in Danbury.
The government alleges that DR. FRY and CPC ASSOCIATES submitted improper claims to Medicare for psychiatric services that were provided over the phone to certain Medicare beneficiaries, instead of by meeting with the beneficiaries in the office and treating them in person. Medicare permits certain types of “telehealth” services where the patient is in a rural health professional shortage area and where the provider uses an interactive audio and video communications system that permits real-time communication between the provider and the patient. However, the patients treated over the phone by DR. FRY and CPC ASSOCIATES were not located in rural health professional shortage areas and DR. FRY and CPC ASSOCIATES did not use interactive audio and video communications. They simply treated certain Medicare patients by phone.
To resolve the government’s allegations under the False Claims Act, DR. FRY and CPC ASSOCIATES have agreed to pay $36,704, which covers conduct occurring from January 1, 2009 through June 1, 2015.
A complaint against DR. FRY and CPC ASSOCIATES was filed in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act. The relators (whistleblowers), Jodi Cohen, a former patient of Dr. Fry, and Medical Bill Consultants, LLC, a billing company, will receive a share of the proceeds of the settlement in the amount of $6,239. The whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act provide that the whistleblower is entitled to receive a percentage of the proceeds of any judgment or settlement recovered by the government.
This matter was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard M. Molot and Auditor Kevin Saunders.
People who suspect health care fraud are encouraged to report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS or the Health Care Fraud Task Force at (203) 777-6311.