Stratford Doctor Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud and Illegal Kickback Offenses
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, announced that ANANTHAKUMAR THILLAINATHAN, MD, 44, of Stratford, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today in Hartford federal court to health care fraud and kickback offenses.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Thillainathan is a medical doctor and the owner and president of MDCareNow LLC, a medical practice with offices in Stratford and Milford. MDCareNow has been a participating provider enrolled as both an internal medicine group and as a behavioral health clinician group in the Connecticut Medicaid program. Between approximately June 2019 and May 2022, Thillainathan submitted or caused to be submitted to Connecticut Medicaid approximately $839,724 in fraudulent claims for psychotherapy services that he knew patients did not receive from his employees. Thillainathan knew that the billed psychotherapy Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes, which identify the nature and complexity of the services provided, were not supported by medical records provided by his employees, and that the services were not provided. The investigation revealed that Thillainathan submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid for reimbursement that falsely represented his employees had rendered 60-minute psychotherapy sessions when, in fact, his employees only had very brief conversations with patients, had only left a voicemail for patients, or had no contact with patients at all.
In pleading guilty, Thillainathan also admitted that, in violation of his Connecticut Medical Assistance Program (CTMAP) provider agreement, he paid a third-party “patient recruiting” company for each Connecticut Medicaid patient the company recruited and provided with transportation to MDCareNow for medical services. Thillainathan paid the patient recruiting company approximately $100 per patient for an initial visit to MDCareNow and approximately $40 per patient for any subsequent visit. Between approximately November 2019 and May 2021, Thillainathan paid the patient recruiting company for the recruitment of approximately 1,018 Connecticut Medicaid patients, and Connecticut Medicaid reimbursed MDCareNow a total of approximately $1,071,328 for services provided to these patients.
Thillainathan pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud and one count of kickbacks involving federal health care programs, offenses that carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stefan R Underhill in Bridgeport on January 26, 2023. As part of his plea, Thillainathan has agreed to pay $1,674,880 in restitution.
Thillainathan, a citizen of Sri Lanka and a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., is released on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s Office, the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office and the Connecticut Department of Social Services.
The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather L. Cherry and Elena L. Coronado.
People who suspect health care fraud are encouraged to report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS.