Dangerous, Unnecessary Surgeries Lead to False Claims Complaint

The United States has charged Dr. Nijam Azmat and the Satilla Regional Medical Center of Waycross, Georgia with violating the False Claims Act by billing Medicare for services that were of no medical value to federal health program patients.  The government alleges that Dr. Azmat and the medical center performed, and sought reimbursement for, services to Medicare patients that were not medically necessary, had no medical value, or even endangered the lives of patients.

Satilla enlisted the services of Dr. Azmat in 2005, and the doctor began performing endovascular procedures – highly specialized procedures that require formal training.  However, Dr. Azmat allegedly was never qualified or even competent to perform these procedures. In fact, one patient died of a hemorrhagic shock after undergoing an endovascular procedure performed by Dr. Azmat.  By charging the government for services that were not medically necessary or that the doctor was not authorized to perform, the defendants allegedly bilked the federal government it otherwise would not have paid out in violation of the False Claims Act.

The suit was initially a qui tam action brought by Lana Rogers, one of several nurses who supposedly noticed that Dr. Azmat was not qualified to perform these procedures.  After the medical center ignored the nurses complain, Ms. Rogers filed this qui tam action and the government has now intervened.  Ms. Rogers will be entitled to 15% to 25% of any recovery by the government.

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