Settling allegations of false claims has gotten a Maryland doctor and an independent company permanently excluded from the Medicare program.
The physician, John J. Merendino Sr., M.D., also was fined $3.1 million.
HHS' inspector general's office accused Merendino of improperly billing Medicare through companies he owned or controlled for physical therapy services at nursing homes in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
In the other case, Gina M. Giland her company, Quality Plus Diagnostics, agreed to forfeit about $138,000 to resolve false-claims allegations made by the government two years ago in U.S. District Court in Miami. The settlement doesn't indicate where Gil or her company are located.
MODERN HEALTHCARE*obtained copies of the settlements earlier this month under the federal Freedom of Information Act. HHS' inspector general's office signed off on both agreements in June.
In Merendino's case, government officials investigated claims filed from 1991 to 1995. They contended Medicare billing rules were broken because doctors employed by a Rockville, Md., company Merendino owned, failed to supervise physical therapy and didn't provide services to nursing home patients. The claims were prepared by a billing company controlled by Merendino and owned by his spouse.
Merendino and his companies admit to no wrongdoing in the settlement. Besides the fine, he also agreed to pay $717,202 to the Internal Revenue Service and be excluded from state healthcare programs. He did not return telephone calls for comment.
In Gil's case, the government said her company collected almost $1.6 million from Medicare from 1993 to 1995 for medical services that were never provided or were unnecessary. The money paid to the company was then transferred to Gil's personal bank accounts, or ones she had with family members, to buy personal property.
Although the amount of money Gil is forfeiting is substantially less than what her company allegedly was paid, the agreement was approved because she is unable to pay any higher amount. In addition, she is turning over medical, diagnostic and other equipment she owned. Gil and her company also are being excluded from Medicaid and state healthcare programs.
Gil admits no wrongdoing in the settlement. Her attorney did not return calls for comment.