TAMPA (Legal Newsline) — The Department of Justice has announced Dr. Asad Qamar and his practice, the Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence (ICE), will pay $2 million and release any claim to $5.3 million in suspended Medicare funds after allegations of improperly billing Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE for medically unnecessary products.
“Billing federal health programs for medically unnecessary procedures is unacceptable – not only does it waste taxpayer funds but it also puts patients at risk,” said principal deputy assistant attorney general Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Today’s settlement evidences the Department of Justice’s firm commitment to protect public funds and to safeguard the well-being of federal health care program beneficiaries.”
In addition to billing for allegedly unnecessary products and inadequately documented peripheral artery interventional services, the defendants purportedly paid kickbacks to patients by waiving Medicare co-payments regardless of financial hardship.
Qamar agreed to enter a three-year period of exclusion from participation in federal health care programs. This will be followed by an additional three-year period where the business will sign an integrity agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General.
“Patient safety is of paramount importance,” U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III for the Middle District of Florida said. “When a doctor performs medically unnecessary and invasive procedures on Medicare patients, federal healthcare programs are defrauded and, more importantly, patients’ lives and wellbeing are recklessly put at risk. This case shows our office’s steadfast commitment to holding medical providers personally responsible for their actions.”