LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons of Nevada, Inc. (CTS), a Las Vegas medical practice whose principal physician is Dr. Bashir Chowdhry, has agreed to pay $1.5 million to the United States to resolve allegations relating to its potential liability under the civil False Claims Act.
United States Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada; Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); Special Agent in Charge A.E. Pleasant for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG), Criminal Investigations Division, Western Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI’s Las Vegas Division made the announcement.
The settlement announced today resolves allegations that, from January 1, 2006 through May 31, 2011, CTS violated the False Claims Act by billing federal healthcare programs, including Medicare and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, for surgical services not actually provided to its cardiac patients, and also billing for more expensive surgical and evaluation and management services than those actually provided to its patients.
“It is important to maintain the integrity of federal healthcare programs,” said U.S. Attorney Elieson for the District of Nevada. “Medical providers who misuse these programs negatively impact patients and taxpayers.”
“When providers bill government health programs for services never rendered, as alleged here, precious resources are diverted from vulnerable individuals,” said SAC Schrank for the HHS-OIG. “Suspected violators can expect to pay a price.”
“Physicians who engage in cost mischarging for services provided to veterans will be aggressively pursued by the Office of Inspector General and held accountable to the full extent of the law,” said SAC Pleasant for the VA-OIG.
“The FBI will continue to investigate companies that profit from exploiting patients who are searching for treatments to critical medical illnesses,” said SAC Rouse for the FBI.
The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General; and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Wenthe handled the case on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.