DOJ Catch of the Week — Dr. Joseph Galichia
This week’s DOJ Catch of the Week goes to Kansas cardiologist Joseph Galichia. Yesterday, he agreed to pay $5.8 million to resolve allegations that he and his company, Galichia Medical Group, violated the False Claims Act by billing federal health care programs for medically unnecessary cardiac stent procedures. This is the government’s third False Claims Act settlement with Dr. Galichia. Which may explain why he also agreed to a three-year exclusion from participating in Medicare and other federal health care programs. See DOJ press release.
According to the government, Galichia and his medical group submitted false billings for surgical procedures in which Galichia implanted coronary stents that were not medically necessary. This alleged misconduct follows a pattern of misconduct for which the government has charged Galichia in the past. In 2009, Galichia paid $1.3 million to settle allegations he and his group submitted claims for services not provided or lacking proper documentation. And in 2000, Galichia paid $1.5 million to settle allegations that he and his group engaged in inflated billing, double billing, and billing for services not provided.
In announcing the settlement, the government stressed its commitment to going after healthcare providers that provide unnecessary medical procedures because of the risk it poses to patients and the costs it imposes on government healthcare programs. Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of DOJ’s Civil Division, for example, said the settlement ” reflects the Department of Justice’s commitment to ensuring the safety of federal health care program beneficiaries and that taxpayer monies are properly spent.” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister for the District of Kansas echoed this strong sentiment: “Patient safety is critically important … [and p]erforming medically unnecessary procedures puts patients at risk and defrauds federal health care programs.”
The allegations surrounding the current settlement originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act by Dr. Aly Gadalla. Dr. Gadalla will receive a whistleblower award of roughly $1.16 million from the proceeds of the government’s recovery.
The provision of unnecessary medical services and other types of healthcare fraud are one of the most common areas of fraud the government investigates under the False Claims Act. Please contact us if you have any information on any potential fraud in this or any other area and would like to have a confidential conversation with one of Constantine Cannon’s experienced whistleblower lawyers.
- False Claims Act
- Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Fraud
- Medically Unnecessary Services
- Whistleblower Reward Laws