The Justice Department announced the settlement of a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act against Jackson Cardiology Associates (“JCA”), its owner Jashu Patel, M.D., and hospital Allegiance Health – all based in Jackson, Michigan.
The complaint was initially brought by cardiologist Julie A. Kovach, M.D. who was employed at JCA from 2007 to 2008. Dr. Kovach alleged that Dr. Patel, and other cardiologists employed by JCA, performed medically inappropriate cardiology procedures, such as invasive catheterizations, on Medicare and Medicaid recipients at Allegiance Health hospital.
In addition, the complaint alleged that Dr. Patel and other JCA employees knowingly performed medically unnecessary outpatient procedures. The government asserted that Dr. Patel, JCA and Allegiance’s submission of claims for payments for the unnecessary procedures violated the False Claims Act.
Dr. Patel and JCA have agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle the allegations against them. Allegiance will pay $1.8 million to settle the charges against it. The whistleblower will receive a portion of the settlement proceeds as her reward under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.