NRI cardiologist Dr. Annie T. Varughese
to pay $400K to settle false billing allegation
New York, July 3, 2020
NRIpress.club/Ramesh/ A.Gary Singh
From June 4, 2013, through June 4, 2016, the company submitted claims to Medicare for cardiology services. These included cardiac external counterpulsation treatments, transthoracic echocardiography studies and duplex scans that were not reasonable and medically necessary. Therefore, they failed to meet the Medicare coverage and documentation requirements.
- Advanced Cardiovascular Care Center P.A. and its owner and administrator have agreed to pay $400,000 to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act (FCA
- Owner Dr. Annie T. Varughese, 57, and administrator Babu Varughese, 64, both of Spring, conducted business in three clinics located in Houston, Conroe and The Woodlands.
Further, patient files lacked documentation that Varughese directly supervised the cardiology services as Medicare requires. The company billed Medicare for services under Varughese’s provider number when she was not in the office and, at times, not even in the United States.
Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI Said:
- “Billing Medicare for services that are not necessary and/or not provided constitutes fraud. American taxpayers are the ones who ultimately bear the financial burden created by this, as healthcare fraud translates into higher premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for consumers. We ask for the public's help in reporting and exposing dishonest healthcare providers."
The investigation began in 2016 after a former cardiologist filed a sealed lawsuit under the qui tam provisions of the FCA. It allows private citizens with knowledge of fraud to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States. They may be entitled to a share of the proceeds of the action or any settlement.