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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 11, 2021

Pain doctor pays to settle allegations arising from false billing

LAREDO, Texas – A 44-year-old physician from Laredo has paid $340,437.68 to resolve allegations he falsely billed Medicare for the use of electro-acupuncture devices, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Dr. Marte A. Martinez Jr. is an anesthesiologist and pain management physician who practices in Laredo. Marte A. Martinez M.D. PLLC is an entity Martinez used to conduct his medical practice. 

From Aug. 23, 2019, to Feb. 12, 2020, Martinez billed Medicare for the implantation of neurostimulator electrodes. These are surgical procedures usually requiring use of an operating room. Medicare pays thousands of dollars per procedure. 

Neither Martinez nor his staff performed surgery. Instead, patients received devices used for electro-acupuncture. This involves inserting needles into patients’ ears with the neurostimulator taped behind them with an adhesive. 

To date, the Southern District of Texas has resolved four other settlements with a Katy anesthesiologist, a Houston pain doctor, a Rockport chiropractor and a Houston chiropractor involving similar allegations of false billing.

The FBI and Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation with the assistance of Qlarant, the Unified Program Integrity Contractor for Medicare. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Gray handled the matter.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

Topic(s): 
Health Care Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated June 11, 2021