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Crime and Courts

Wichita Cardiologist, Practice To Pay $5.8 Million For Alleged False Billings

stethoscope_jasleen_kaur_flickr.jpg
Jasleen Kaur
/
flickr Creative Commons

Wichita cardiologist Joseph Galichia and his practice, Galichia Medical Group, have reached a $5.8 million settlement with the Department of Justice, according to a news release.

The settlement alleges that Galichia and his company violated the False Claims Act by improperly billing federal health care programs for medically unnecessary cardiac stent procedures from 2008 to 2014.

Galichia denied the allegations in a statement.

Galichia and his practice also agreed not to take part in any federal health care programs for three years.

“OIG is excluding Dr. Galichia from participation in Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs, and we will continue to work with our partners to protect the health and welfare of Medicare beneficiaries,” Special Agent in Charge Steve Hanson of the Office of Inspector General said in a news release.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Aly Gadalla, a former employee, under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act, which allows private individuals to sue on behalf of the government. This allowed the federal government to intervene and take over the case.

Gadalla will receive $1.16 million from the settlement, according to a news release from the Justice Department.

The settlement did not determine liability.

In a statement, Galichia said he agreed to the settlement "because fighting the action was taking up far too much ... time and energy. Further, after nearly seven years, it simply became too costly to keep defending against the false accusations.”

This is the third time Galichia and his medical practice have reached settlements with the government over billing issues. In 2009, they paid $1.3 million for submitting claims for services they didn’t provide or lacked proper documentation for.

They also paid $1.5 million in 2000 for submitting claims for “a higher level of service than provided,” billing twice for the same services and billing for services that weren’t provided, the Justice Department said.

Kylie Cameron is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.