A Missoula-based vascular surgeon agreed to pay $3.7M to settle federal fraud claims. He agreed to pay the government for an alleged complaint on him violating the False Claim Act.
As per the claim, he performed several unnecessary surgeries. He used improper techniques to perform those surgeries and also charged extra for those surgeries to patients.
Additionally, he submitted fraudulent bills for payment to the Federal healthcare programs.
David Bellah, MD operates a renowned vascular surgeon providing his services in Missoula and Kalispell, Montana.
Now, according to the department of justice, David Bellah agreed to settle the federal fraud claims.
What is the False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act means a medical professional can’t submit fraudulent bills and documents for payment by Federal Healthcare Programs.
A medical professional who does such things will have to go through a legal process and will be asked to pay the fine or sentenced to jail as per the crime he committed by opposing the federal law.
Medicare and Medicaid Healthcare programs are the federal programs set by the government for low-income families.
Medical professionals perform illegal surgeries on patients and submit unnecessary bills to get additional benefits from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
US Attorney Leif M. Johnson released a public statement regarding this and the agreement is made between the Federal Department and the Surgeon.
The claim is set for performing improper techniques for surgeries and following unnecessary and illegal procedures for the payments.
When a doctor submits such false claims, the overall cost for the treatment will be increased. It will put up an extra burden on the shoulders of Medicare or Medicaid holders.
He further added that, if the Government knows about such acts done by the healthcare providers, they would not have passed the claims submitted by the hospital.
As per his statement, an investigation committee will be put up and will look over this entire case.
The documents presented by the court states that Dr. Bellamah and his company used unnecessary techniques for unwanted surgeries. It was done through false medical records from the year 2015 to 2017.
Moreover, the documents also state that Dr. Bellamah and his staff used unnecessary techniques for ultrasounds on the patients. Patients who didn’t require ultrasound had offered this service without their knowledge. Unnecessary ultrasounds may invite several health issues.
Additionally, the company had generated bills for such unnecessary services through government-funded programs i.e. Medicare and Medicaid that ultimately fetches money from the government as both these programs are backed by the government.
A former employee at Bellamah Vein Center named Lenore Lezzane files a suit against this center regarding the same matter.
He claimed that the Bellamah Vein and Surgery Center had received funds from a government-backed program to perform unnecessary procedures based on illegal documents and medical records.
“Performing medically unnecessary surgery risks the health and wellbeing of patients, compromises the integrity of federal health care programs and increases the financial burden on taxpayers,” Curt L. Muller, Special Agent in Charge with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General said in a public statement.
The Special Agent has further added that they have set up a committee to look after such activities. The team is designed to safeguard the integrity of government-funded programs that are designed for the better health of the citizens and low cost. Every single individual will be scanned to find out those who exploit the laws.
About the Settlement
US Attorney’s office for the District of Montana, the Defense Health Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the Department of Veteran Affairs along with the former employee i.e. Lenore Lezane settled this claim with the Vascular Surgeon.
As per the agreement, Dr. Bellamah and his company will have to pay $3,746,324 to resolve the complaint.
The claim states that Dr. Bellamah and his company violated the laws of the False Claim Act. They have also misused and ignored other common laws that prevent them from doing such activities.
According to an official statement, if the settlement amount i.e. $3,746,324 is paid fully within 21 days from the agreement’s date, there will be no interest charged.
However, if the accuser delays the payment, the company has to pay the interest as per the rule for the next five years.
Moreover, the Federal Government will pay 17% of each payment they receive from the company. The settlement is not an admission of guilt by Bellamah, it was just a claim which is now settled!