An Indian American doctor couple based in Ohio has been indicted on charges of committing healthcare fraud by performing unnecessary medical tests and procedures on patients to get payouts from insurance companies, PTI reported.
Dr Ashis K Rakhit, 65, and his wife 56-year-old Jayati Gupta Rakhit specialize in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine. They run a practice in Cleveland, Ohio. Ashis Rakhit was granted a medical license in 1990, while his wife was granted her license the following year.
As per the indictment, the couple ordered and performed unnecessary medical tests between 2011 and 2018, including unnecessary nuclear stress tests, cardiac catheterizations, bone density scans, echocardiograms, EKGs, carotid artery scans, venous ultrasounds of the legs and abdominal ultrasounds.
They also recorded false symptoms in patient records to justify medically unnecessary tests on patients, including shortness of breath, palpitations, hypertension and abnormalities in breathing, the indictment added.
They also billed Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers with inflated codes to reflect a service more costly than that which was actually performed. They intentionally distributed and dispensed controlled substances outside the usual course of medical practice, the prosecutors told the court.
According to the indictment, Ashis Rakhit is charged with distributing Percocet and Xanax last year, while Jayati Rakhit is charged with distributing Tramadol. “This couple violated the trust of their patients, the taxpayers and the community,” attorney Justin E Herdman said.
“They performed unnecessary medical tests and billed for services they didn’t actually provide in exchange for prescription medications – all of this at a time when our region is inundated in opioid deaths and addiction,” he said.
“Not only did these physicians put their patients through unnecessary medical procedures so they could line their pockets with extra income, they also prescribed controlled narcotics that were not medically required,” FBI special agent in charge Stephen D Anthony said.
Their arrests come after an FBI investigation was conducted with help from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Prosecutors say the investigation continues, Cleveland.com reported.
A grand jury indicted the couple on Jan. 17. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster freed them following their arraignments on Jan. 24. However, they were required to surrender their passports and put up their house with $1.5 million in equity. Their licenses to prescribe medicine and perform invasive procedures have been suspended while trial is awaited.