Former Connecticut Physician Pays $300,000 to Settle False Claims Act Allegations
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Special Agent in Charge of the DCIS Northeast Field Office, today announced that DR. PHILIPPE R. CHAIN has entered into a civil settlement agreement with the federal government in which he will pay $300,000 to resolve allegations that he violated the False Claims Act.
Chain, who currently practices medicine in Florida, previously practiced medicine in Connecticut. While in Connecticut, Chain also worked for CallMD, a telemedicine company located Nevada, to perform telehealth services. The telehealth services Chain provided involved prescribing compounded medications to TRICARE beneficiaries.
TRICARE is the federal health care program for active duty military personnel, retirees, and their families. “Compounding” is a practice by which a pharmacist combines, mixes, or alters the ingredients of a drug to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. Compounded medications are not FDA-approved.
The government alleges that Chain caused pharmacies to submit false claims for compounded medications to TRICARE by issuing or approving prescriptions that were invalid, because Chain did not speak with or examine the patients in question and did not have an established physician-patient relationship with them. It is further alleged that many of the prescriptions were not medically necessary.
To resolve the government’s allegations under the False Claims Act, Chain agreed to pay $300,000, which covers claims submitted to the TRICARE program from January 28, 2015 through July 28, 2015.
“We will work to aggressively protect the health care benefits for our service members, veterans, and their families,” said U.S. Attorney Durham. “Health care providers who cause false claims to be submitted to federal health care programs will be held accountable.”
“One of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) investigative priorities is to ensure the integrity of TRICARE, the U.S. Department of Defense’s health care program for military members, retirees and their dependents,” stated Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Special Agent in Charge of the DCIS Northeast Field Office. “This settlement is the result of a joint effort and demonstrates DCIS’ ongoing commitment to partner with the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute health care providers who submit false claims to TRICARE.”
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard M. Molot.
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.