Garden State Cardiovascular Specialists P.C. Agrees To Pay $3.6 Million For Allegedly Submitting False Claims To Federal Health Care Programs
NEWARK, N.J. – Garden State Cardiovascular Specialists P.C. (Garden State), a cardiology practice which owns and operates several facilities in New Jersey under the name NJ MedCare/NJ Heart, has agreed to pay more than $3.6 million to resolve allegations that its facilities falsely billed federal health care programs for tests that were not medically necessary, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today.
The settlement announced today resolves allegations that Garden State and its principals, Jasjit Walia M.D. and Preet Randhawa M.D., submitted claims to Medicare for various cardiology diagnostic tests and procedures, including stress tests, cardiac catheterizations, and external counterpulsation, which were not medically necessary.
The allegations resolved by today’s settlement were raised in a lawsuit filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act. The Act allows private citizens with knowledge of fraud to bring civil actions on behalf of the government and to share in any recovery. The whistleblower, Cheryl Mazurek, will receive more than $648,000 as part of today’s settlement.
The settlement is the culmination of an investigation conducted by special agents of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bernard J. Cooney and Kristin L. Vassallo of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark and Trial Attorney Arthur Di Dio of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch.
U.S. Attorney Fishman reorganized the health care fraud practice at the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office shortly after taking office, including creating a stand-alone Health Care and Government Fraud Unit to handle both criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions of health care fraud offenses. Since 2010, the office has recovered more than $635 million in health care fraud and government fraud settlements, judgments, fines, restitution and forfeiture under the False Claims Act, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and other statutes.
The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability. The qui tam case is captioned United States ex rel. Cheryl Mazurek v. Garden State Cardiovascular Specialists, P.C. et al., Civil Action No. 10-4734 (D.N.J.).
Defense counsel for Garden State and Doctors Walia and Randhawa:
Bruce A. Levy Esq., Newark
Counsel for Relator:
Ross Begelman Esq., Cherry Hill, New Jersey