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Press Release

Hospital Authority Of Irwin County Resolves False Claims Act Investigation For $520,000

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia

Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, and Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General for the State of Georgia, announced today they have reached a civil settlement with the Hospital Authority of Irwin County (ICH), Dr. Mahendra Amin, Dr. Ashfaq Saiyed, Dr. Romana Bairan, Dr. Arturo Ruanto, Dr. Concordio Ursal, Dr. Drew Howard, Dr. Steve Anderson, Dr. Robert Reese, and Dr. Marshall Tanner.  The Defendants agreed to pay $520,000 to resolve allegations that they caused false claims to be submitted to Medicare and Medicaid.

The settlement marks the end of an investigation into alleged violations of the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute, the Federal Stark Law, and related Georgia Medicaid policies.  Allegations of the suit concern the amount of compensation paid by ICH to Dr. Amin, ICH’s leases with the co-defendants, and the supervision of certain diagnostic imaging services at ICH. This investigation began with a lawsuit filed by Connie Brogdon and Summer Holland under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act and the Georgia False Medicaid Claims Act, which allow private citizens to bring civil actions on behalf of the Government and share in any recovery obtained.   Ms. Brogdon and Ms. Holland will receive a share of the settlement payment pursuant to the whistleblower provisions.

Defendants fully cooperated in the investigation after which the parties agreed to resolve the allegations made by the United States and the State of Georgia. The claims settled in the civil settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

“One important mission of this office’s Civil Division is to ensure that when taxpayer money is paid out under federal health care programs, it is paid out in a manner that complies with federal healthcare laws,” said U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore. “Whistleblower lawsuits, like this case, are an increasingly important way in which our office is able to protect the integrity of the many federal programs that the citizens of Middle Georgia rely on each and every day.”

Attorney General Sam Olens stated, “My office takes seriously our obligation to ensure that providers comply with all applicable state laws, regulations, and policies when receiving state taxpayer funds for services they provide as part of the Medicaid program.  This case reflects our continued commitment to investigating allegations of Medicaid fraud and abuse.”

The case was investigated by Special Agent Mark Creamer of the Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Investigator Enedelia Bostrup of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia; and Investigator Tonia Medlin, Nurse Investigator Judy Cooper, Investigative Auditor Anita Reddick, and Analyst Carmen Staley, all of the Georgia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, a division of the Office of the Attorney General of Georgia.

The civil settlement was reached by Assistant United States Attorney Charles W. Byrd, Assistant United States Attorney Todd Swanson, and Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth White.

Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, United States Attorney’s Office at 478-621-2603.

Updated April 29, 2015