An Ohio pain management clinic and its owner agreed last week to pay the Federal government $650,000 in order to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly billing Medicare for medically-unnecessary or unprovided services.
Investigators say the doctor ordered nerve condition studies to determine the speed at which electrical impulses are transmitted along a patient’s nerve pathways. The test, which requires needle insertions in several areas of the body, is used in identifying the existence and location of muscle diseases, but experts say the test is generally needed only rarely and for people who display symptoms that none of the clinic’s patients displayed before they were given tests.
In addition, investigators say the doctor ordered alcohol/substance abuse assessments and interventions (SBIRT), which is a means for intervening early on in an individual’s substance abuse in order to resolve it without the need of more intricate treatment. Prosecutors say these tests were ordered for people who showed no signs of substance abuse, and in some cases the ordered tests were never provided but were subsequently submitted for reimbursement by Medicare.
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