United States Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that on March 2, 2023, United States District Judge Joseph P. Stadtmueller entered default judgment against Dr. Siamak Arassi and his clinic, Healing Corner, LLC, in the amount of $2,346,545.78 for violations of the False Claims Act.
As alleged in the United States and State of Wisconsin’s Joint Complaint in Intervention, Healing Corner and its sole practitioner, Dr. Arassi, caused the submission of false claims to the Wisconsin Medicaid Program by ordering excess Vivitrol, a medication used to treat alcohol dependance and prevent relapse to opioid dependance. Vivitrol is administered by a healthcare professional to patients monthly and reimbursed by Wisconsin Medicaid at approximately $1600 per injection. Despite prescribing, requesting refill, and receiving delivery of prescription Vivitrol from a specialty pharmacy, Healing Corner routinely did not administer the Vivitrol to the patient for whom it was prescribed, but instead, at the direction of Dr. Arassi, routinely ordered Vivitrol prescriptions in the name of former patients of Healing Corner, which were reimbursed by Wisconsin Medicaid. This practice generated a stockpile of excess Vivitrol, which Healing Corner administered to non-Medicaid patients for cash—often paying Healing Corner over $1000 out of pocket per month. Healing Corner also administered free samples of Vivitrol to Medicaid patients but still submitted claims to Medicaid for reimbursement.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office prioritizes efforts to stop healthcare fraud and is committed to working with our federal, state, and local partners to protect health care program beneficiaries and the American taxpayers,” said U. S. Attorney Haanstad. “This judgment demonstrates our continuing efforts to combat violations of the False Claims Act.”
“Seeking reimbursement for medications that are not administered to the intended beneficiary for profit, undermines the integrity of medical professionals who we entrust to care for our most vulnerable populations,” said Mario M. Pinto, Special Agent in Charge with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to pursue medical professionals and others who defraud our Federal health care programs.”
“Those who cheat the Medicaid system must be held accountable,” said Attorney General Kaul. “Thank you to the investigators and prosecutors who have secured this significant judgment.”
The judgment includes the resolution of claims brought under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Clarence Christiansen, the stepfather of a former Healing Corner patient. Healing Corner had ordered multiple Vivitrol prescriptions in the former patient’s name, which the former patient never requested and never received.
The resolution obtained in the matter was the result of a coordinated effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Assistant United States Attorneys Maura Flaherty and Michael Carter represented the United States in this matter.
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