X-Ray Company Owner Receives 10 Years in Prison For $8M Medicare and Medicaid Fraud Which Lead to the Death of Two Patients

George IndestBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On June 15, 2016, A medical diagnostics company owner found guilty of Medicare and Medicaid fraud for billing $8 million for X-rays whose botched analysis by amateurs led to the death of two patients was sentenced in Maryland federal court to 10 years in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice said. The diagnostics company, Alpha Diagnostics, LLC (Alpha), operated in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Alpha’s president and chief executive officer (CEO) Rafael Chikvashvili, was convicted by a jury in February 2016 of two counts of health care fraud resulting in death, nine counts of health care fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy, 11 counts of false statements relating to health care matters and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

I previously wrote a blog covering this case. Click here to read it.

A Mathematician, NOT a Physician.

Chikvashvili, who is a mathematician and not a physician, provided X-rays, ultrasounds and other portable diagnostics in Alpha’s different locations. “The jury found that two patients died because their X-rays were not reviewed by a qualified radiologist. Health care fraud has consequences,” U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said in statements in February and again on Wednesday.

The Consequences of His Actions.

According to prosecutors, Chikvashvili improperly ordered nonphysician employees to interpret X-rays, ultrasounds and cardiology exams, then submitted false claims to the government for reimbursement. Additionally, he ordered workers to make up physicians’ examination reports and improperly copied physicians’ signatures, sometimes even forging them himself, prosecutors said.

Not only did he defraud the government out of thousands of dollars, two patients died as a result of his actions. “The evidence showed that Rafael Chikvashvili failed to provide medical services to patients who needed them, billed for services he did not provide. The jury found that two patients died because their X-rays were not reviewed by a qualified radiologist. Health care fraud has consequences, in money wasted and lives lost.” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement.

The case is U.S. v. Chikvashvili, case number 1:14-cr-00423, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

At The Health Law Firm, we have experience with cases such as this. Click here to read a press release for a previous client we represented in which our attorneys succeeded in having the physician dismissed from a six million dollar suit.

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Salvatore, Cara. “X-Ray Co. Owner Gets 10 Years For $8M Fraud, 2 Deaths.” Law360. (June 15, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawfirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone; (407) 331-6620.
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