Louisiana cardiologist sued by Justice Department for False Claims Act violations

Dr. Mehmood Patel, an interventional cardiologist formerly practicing in Lafayette, Louisiana, has been sued by the United States in a False Claims Act suit asking for treble damages and penalties. The lawsuit claims that Dr. Patel performed medically unnecessary cardiovascular procedures and then billed Medicare for it. Dr. Patel has already been convicted on 51 criminal counts for his fraudulent conduct. Patel received a 10-year prison sentence for performing unnecessary cardiac angiograms, angioplasties and stents.

The False Claims Act suit was originally filed in federal court in Louisiana by cardiologist Christopher Mallavarapu. The civil complaint alleges that, in addition to performing the procedures addressed by the criminal charges, Patel also conducted unnecessary left and right heart catheterizations. Medicare will not pay for medically unnecessary procedures.

Under the Qui Tam provisions of the federal statute, a private individual may bring suit on behalf of the United States government and, if successful, receive a share of the damages, ranging from 15 to 25 percent. The government is entitled to three times the amount of its losses along with civil penalties ranging from $5,500 to $11,000 for every fraudulent claim submitted for payment.

For the full story, see the Press Release.

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