Albany Physician Pays $100,000 And Agrees To 15-Year Period Of Exclusion From Medicare For Submitting False Claims
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Dr. Michael Esposito has agreed to pay $100,000 for billing Medicare despite his exclusion from all federal health care programs, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian. Dr. Esposito is an endocrinologist who treated patients in the Capital Region until earlier this year, when the New York State Board of Professional Medical Conduct ordered him to stop practicing medicine because he had engaged in professional misconduct.
Medicare is a federally funded program that subsidizes health insurance for the elderly and disabled. In December 2016, Dr. Esposito entered into an agreement with the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG) to resolve allegations that he had forged the signature of another physician on prescriptions for opioids and other prescription drugs for himself and another individual that were paid for by Medicare. As a condition of that agreement, Dr. Esposito was excluded for five years from participating as a provider with Medicare and all other federal health care programs. As a result of his exclusion, Dr. Esposito was prohibited from billing such programs for his medical services.
As part of today’s settlement, Dr. Esposito admitted that he continued to bill Medicare for services over a two-month period following the effective date of his exclusion and acknowledged that his conduct violated both his agreement with HHS-OIG and the False Claims Act. In addition to paying $100,000, Dr. Esposito agreed to be excluded from Medicare and all other federal health care programs for 15 years.
“As today’s settlement demonstrates, my office will hold accountable those who submit false claims for payment to government programs,” said U.S. Attorney Hartunian. “We will continue to use the False Claims Act to pursue those who knowingly bill federal health care programs for services furnished, ordered, or prescribed by excluded providers.”
“This settlement is another example of our commitment to holding health care providers accountable for their actions,” said Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert of HHS-OIG’s New York Region. “HHS-OIG will continue to protect the integrity of our nation’s federally funded health care programs, and ensure that those who submit claims to those programs do so in an honest manner.”
The investigation and settlement were the result of a coordinated effort among the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and HHS-OIG. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam J. Katz.