Endoscopy Practice Settles Allegations of Medicare Fraud
November 16th, 2017
The Memorial Hermann Endoscopy and Surgery Center of North Houston, an associated medical practice, and one of their physicians reached an agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG) for $1.5 million to settle allegations of Medicare fraud.
A nurse, formerly employed by Hermann, initiated the matter when she alleged that Dr. Gurunath Thota Reddy and other physicians at the Hermann Surgery Center failed to meet established standards of medical practice. The nurse alleged that Reddy and other physicians performed substandard colonoscopies that were essentially worthless services because they were performed quickly and carelessly. She claimed that because the physicians were trying to perform as many procedures as possible, they spent less time than was medically necessary examining the colon, failing to examine the entire colon and leading to potential misses of precancerous or cancerous lesions. The nurse also claimed that there were sanitation issues at the Hermann Surgery Center, manifested by doctors reusing gowns to save money.
This continues the government’s pursuit of worthless services counting as Medicare fraud. In these cases, the procedures are performed but the care is so substandard that it amounts to a worthless procedure in patient care.
Robert B. Vogel, MD, JD
Retinal Ophthalmologist at Piedmont Eye Center, Lynchburg VA;
Attorney, Overbey Hawkins & Wright, PLLS, Lynchburg, VA;
Adjunct Professor, Humanities and Bioethics, Liberty University School of Medicine, Lynchburg, VA.