A lawsuit against surgeon, his associates and family members for allegedly filing false claims to Medicaid, Medicare and the military's TRICARE program settles for $3.5 million
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A lawsuit against a surgeon, his associates and family members for allegedly filing false claims to Medicaid, Medicare and the military's TRICARE program has been settled for $3.5 million, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Dr. Houshang Seradge, an Oklahoma City orthopedic surgeon, and others were sued for $40 million in damages in May 2007 in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City.
The lawsuit accused Seradge and the others of filing more than 6,400 false claims. No criminal charges were filed.
"Health care providers can and will be held accountable for their billing practices," said U.S. Attorney John Richter. "We are firmly focused on vigorously pursuing allegations of fraud and abuse which divert the scarce resources of Medicare and other government health care programs away from necessary patient care."
Prosecutors alleged that Seradge, his associates and family members "... submitted charges for medical procedures not performed, charges for medical procedures not performed by a doctor, and charges for services not performed with required physician oversight," according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office.
In many instances, claims were processed and submitted for services rendered by Seradge when he was not even present in the state, officials said.
The complaint alleged that the procedures were instead performed by a physician assistant or others and the resultant claims submitted in the name of Seradge were in violation of government rules and regulations.
The defendants have denied liability, officials said.
Besides the payment, Seradge, occupational therapist Carrie Baer; P. Denny Oreb, an officer in one or more of the business entities involved and Pamela Landers, who handled the billing, have agreed to withdraw from billing or being involved in the billing of federal health care programs for three years, prosecutors said.
After receiving the settlement payment, the government agreed to dismiss the federal court action, officials said.