Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. Agrees to Pay $3 Million to Settle Civil False Claims Act Allegations
Dr. Hugo A. Rojas, owner of Hugo A. Rojas, M.D., P.A., and Family Clinics of San Antonio, has agreed to pay $350,000.00 under a civil settlement to resolve allegations he violated certain provisions of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the False Claims Act (FCA), announced U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Daniel Comeaux, Houston Division.
Dr. Rojas is a primary care physician registered with the DEA to prescribe controlled substances, as well as a Medicare provider operating a medical practice with two locations in San Antonio. The settlement reflects the ongoing commitment of DOJ and DEA to address the opioid crisis and to prevent, detect and investigate the diversion of controlled substances. It further reflects the joint DOJ and Health and Human Services (“HHS”) commitment to identify and investigate false billing practices by Medicare providers.
“Doctors must live up to their obligations under the CSA to ensure that controlled substances are not illegally diverted into our community,” said U.S. Attorney Hoff. “Protecting our community from the diversion of controlled substances is a priority of the DEA and our office.”
“This settlement illustrates pharmacies and medical providers are being held accountable for violating federal laws designed to ensure the safety and legal dispensation of pharmaceutical drugs,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Comeaux. “This case clearly reflects DEA’s commitment to use all available tools to address this crisis at every level and ultimately reduce the availability of highly addictive opioids.”
After an investigation into Dr. Rojas’ prescribing practices, the U.S. contends Dr. Rojas violated the CSA by pre-signing 13 prescriptions for controlled substances which were provided to patients at times when Dr. Rojas was travelling outside of the state of Texas. Furthermore, the U.S. contends he violated the CSA by issuing six prescriptions for controlled substances without having examined the patients prior to providing the prescription. The U.S. also contends Dr. Rojas violated the CSA by issuing 18 prescriptions for controlled substances to patients seen by non-physician personnel. The pre-signing or issuance of prescriptions raises serious concerns about the potential diversion of controlled substances.
In addition, the U.S. alleges that Dr. Rojas submitted claims for reimbursement for services rendered to Medicare beneficiaries during times he was travelling outside of the state of Texas and that care was provided by mid-level practitioners employed by Dr. Rojas. A portion of the $350,000.00 settlement includes restitution to Medicare for these claims.
Dr. Rojas has made no admission of civil liability.
The DEA’s Diversion Group in the San Antonio District Office investigated this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin M. Van De Walle handled this case on behalf of the government.