It’s been a busy week in the world of health care fraud. And while it’s disheartening to know that so many medical professionals continue to abuse the system, it’s reassuring to learn how many are being punished. Houston, Texas-based Dr. Syed Nasir is one such doctor who is paying the price – literally.
Texas pain management doctor settles allegations.
As reported by the Southern District of Texas branch of the United States Department of Justice, the 52 year-old, Nasir has paid $530,000 to resolve allegations that he falsely billed Medicare for the use of electro-acupuncture devices. Nasir works as a pain management physician in Houston. He is alleged to have falsely billed Medicare for the implantation of neurostimulator electrodes. This is a surgical procedure that generally requires the use of an operating room.
As the DoJ report explains, Medicare pays thousands of dollars for this procedure. It is alleged that between March and October of 2018, Nasir submitted numerous bills to Medicare for surgeries that he did not perform. “Instead, he applied a device used for electro-acupuncture,” reports the DoJ, “This procedure involves inserting needles into patients’ ears with the neurostimulator taped behind them with an adhesive.”
Medicare does not reimburse physicians for electro-acupuncture devices as implantable neurostimulators. Nasir’s settlement is the second of its kind involving electro-acupuncture billing in the Southern District of Texas. The DoJ points out that the claims resolved by this agreement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability. Such settlements are interesting in that they don’t denote guilt although the implication is obvious.
Kentucky dentist pleads guilty.
This week, a Kentucky-based dentist wasn’t so fortunate as to make a settlement to resolve his accusations of health care fraud. The Eastern District of Kentucky branch of the United States Department of Justice reports that 66 year-old, Denver D. Tackett has pleaded guilty to his charges.
According to his plea agreement, Tackett operated Tackett Family Dentistry in McDowell, Kentucky. While practicing there, he submitted false and unnecessary claims to Kentucky Medicaid. He billed for the reimbursement of dental procedures and services performed at his practice. Tackett admitted, however, to performing and submitting claims for dental procedures that were neither reasonable nor necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of a patient’s illness or injury.
“For example, Tackett submitted claims for ‘surgical’ extractions when he had only performed a ‘simple’ extraction, a lower reimbursing procedure, or a ‘surgical’ extraction was not medically necessary,” the DoJ details, “In total, Tackett admitted to submitting more than $95,000 in reimbursement claims to Kentucky Medicaid and its fiscal intermediaries for medically unnecessary dental procedures.”
As part of Tackett’s plea agreement, the disgraced dentist has agreed to pay restitution of at least $70,000. He has also agreed to a forfeiture money judgement of $20,000. In addition, Tackett will permanently surrender his Drug Enforcement Administration registration and refrain from seeking registration in the future. Without his DEA registration, Tackett will be unable to lawfully prescribe controlled substances.
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