A Las Vegas gastroenterologist and the chief operating officer of his medical practice were indicted in a U.S. District Court in Nevada on one of count of conspiracy and 25 counts of defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers in a case where federal prosecutors are seeking to recover $8.1 million.
Doc, COO indicted for fraud, conspiracy
Dr. Dipak Desai, the owner of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada ambulatory surgery centers, and Tanya Rushing, the COO of the two-ASC company, are being charged with “significantly” overstating the time some eight certified registered nurse anesthetists spent with patients. It is alleged that payers were routinely billed for 31 minutes of CRNA time on each patient even though one of the company's ASCs regularly performed between 60 and 80 procedures a day, according to the April 27 indictment.
“The CRNAs almost never spent 31 or more minutes with a patient, and could not have possibly done so, given the number of patients each day they had to treat,” the indictment stated. The alleged incidents were reported to have taken place between January 2005 and February 2008, and were aided by the creation of a separate company developed for the purpose of handling billing of anesthesia services rendered by CRNAs.
Rushing is scheduled to be arraigned on May 6, while a May 27 telephone hearing is scheduled for Desai, who is living in a residential mental health treatment facility since being declared mentally incompetent to stand trial in February in a case involving a hepatitis C breakout linked to his facilities. In its recent report to Congress outlining its plan for value-based purchasing at ASCs, the CMS specifically cited the outbreak as reason why more scrutiny of ASC infection-control practices was necessary.
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