Hospital settlement

The Norman Regional HealthPlex hospital in Norman, Oklahoma. ( photo)

Indian American doctors Gautam Dehadrai and Sanjay Narotam were among six physicians, as well as the Norman Regional Hospital, to agree to pay more than $1.6 million to settle allegations they submitted false claims to Medicare, the U.S. Department of Justice said in an April 11 statement.

In addition to Dehadrai and Narotam, the Norman Regional Hospital Authority, which conducts business as the Norman Regional Health System, former hospital administrator Greg Terrell and doctors Chadwick Webber, Merl Kardokus, Rick Wedel and Barbara Landaal agreed to pay a settlement of $1,618,750 to the U.S.

The hospital, which provides radiological and other services to patients in Norman, Okla., previously employed radiological practitioner assistants in its radiology department.

RPAs are not physicians, and the services they provide to Medicare beneficiaries cannot be billed to Medicare unless done under the appropriate level of supervision by a physician, the justice department said.

Supervision, in this case, means that a physician must be in the room supervising the RPA when the RPA performs the service. If a physician is not in the room, the service cannot be billed to Medicare, it said.

The DoJ alleged that the doctors, Terrell and the hospital made false claims for payment to Medicare from Jan. 1, 2008, through Sept. 30, 2016.

After being notified of the allegations, Norman Regional cooperated with the United States’ investigation, which was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General and the FBI, the department said.

The settlement resolves allegations filed in Federal District Court in Oklahoma City by Dr. Lance Garber, a physician formerly employed by Norman Regional as a radiologist, it said.

Norman Regional did not admit liability, and the government did not make any concessions regarding the legitimacy of the claims. The agreement allows the parties to avoid the delay, expense, inconvenience and uncertainty involved in litigating the case, the department added.

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