Doctor gets $11.4 million settlement in whistleblower suit

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A Texas physician has been awarded $11.4 million in a federal whistleblower lawsuit against a major U.S. hospital service provider.

Dr. Bijan Oughatiyan filed the lawsuit against his former employer, IPC Healthcare Inc., in the Northern District of Illinois, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago. IPC Healthcare Inc. is based in North Hollywood, California.

As a result of the lawsuit, TeamHealth Holdings, which is affiliated with IPC Healthcare Inc., has agreed to pay $60 million plus interest to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare, Medicaid, the Defense Health Agency and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for higher and more expensive levels of medical service than were actually performed, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Also as part of the settlement, TeamHealth also entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General covering the company’s hospital medicine division, according to the feds. The agreement is designed to increase TeamHealth’s accountability and transparency.

“Medical providers who fraudulently seek payments to which they are not entitled will be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon for the Northern District of Illinois.  “False documentation of treatment is not just flawed patient care; it is illegal.”

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