Bullhead City Physician to Pay $207,000 to Resolve False Claims Allegations
If you’ve been keeping up with our “In the News” section then you have probably noticed that the U.S. seems to be bursting at the seams with Medicare fraud cases. It’s safe to say that qui tam law firms such as ours are keeping quite busy. Well this week another case filed by a False Claims Act whistleblower was resolved.
Dr. Bashir Azher, M.D., an Arizona-licensed physician who has a practice in Bullhead City, agreed to pay the United States $207,988 to resolve civil allegations that he violated the False Claims Act by submitting false bills to Medicare for prostate laser ablation procedures. This settlement resolves a qui tam lawsuit filed in June of 2014 by Dr. Arnaldo Trabucco, M.D., who will receive a share of the settlement as a whistleblower reward. It’s important to note that this settlement is neither an admission of liability by Dr. Azher nor a concession by the United States that its claims are unfounded.
The settlement agreement resolves allegations that from February 2006 through July 2014, Dr. Azher knowingly submitted materially false claims for reimbursement for prostate laser ablation procedures that were too short to generate a therapeutic benefit, failed to meet professionally recognized standards of care, were medically unnecessary, and/or violated applicable Medicare regulations.
According to Timothy B. DeFrancesca, Acting Special Agent in Charge for the Los Angeles Region of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, “When physicians fail to meet professionally recognized standards of care while providing medically unnecessary procedures, taxpayers’ dollars are wasted and the public’s trust in the medical profession is at risk.” He went on to say, “Our agents will continue to hold health care providers accountable for improper claims.”