Government Intervenes in Two Whistleblower Lawsuits Against Dr. Asad Qamar of Ocala By Tod Aronovitz | 01/07/15 | 0 Comment

The Justice Department announced that the government has intervened in two whistleblower lawsuits against Ocala cardiologist Dr. Asad Qamar and his physician group, the Institute for Cardiovascular Excellence PLLC (ICE). The suits allege that Dr. Qamar and ICE:

  • billed Medicare for numerous cardiovascular tests and procedures that were not medically necessary;
  • essentially paid kickbacks to patients by waiving their Medicare co-payments regardless of financial need.

The lawsuits, which were filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, permit citizens to sue on behalf of the government and share in the financial recovery when evidence proves that defendants submitted false claims for government funds.  The FCA also authorizes the federal government to intervene, as it has done in these cases.

According to a January 5 story in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Qamar was found to be one of the highest paid doctors by Medicare, after the government released payment data last April as a result of legal efforts by the newspaper to have it do so. The article said that “Dr. Qamar collected $18 million from Medicare in 2012, second among all doctors nationwide and more than four times as much as the next highest-paid cardiologist.”

Both lawsuits contend that Qamar and ICE performed excessive and medically unnecessary peripheral artery interventional services and related procedures on Medicare patients.  Further, one lawsuit alleges that Qamar induced patients to undergo these procedures without question by routinely waiving the 20 percent Medicare co-payment.

The WSJ identifies one whistleblower as Holly Taylor, a management consultant who worked for Dr. Qamar at several of his Central Florida locations for two months in 2010. Ms. Taylor, who reviewed Medicare billings, alleges the illegal activities took place from 2008 to 2011. The other whistleblower is unnamed.

According an allegation in one of the suits, the WSJ reported, a patient came to Dr. Qamar with a life-threatening heart blockage along with less serious blockages in the legs. Dr. Qamar was not qualified to treat the heart blockage, but instead of referring that patient to a specialist to handle the issue, the suit alleges, he inserted a stent in one leg, and the patient later died due to complications from that procedure.

Both cases were filed under seal—the first in July 2011 and the second in June 2014. The seals were lifted during late December. The cases are captioned United States ex rel. Doe v. Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence, PLLC, ICE Holdings, PLLC, Dr. Asad Qamar, & Dr. Humera Qamar, Case No. 5:11-CV-406-OC-KRS (M.D. Fla.) and United States ex rel. Taylor & the State of Florida v. Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence & Dr. Asad Qamar, Case No. 8:14-CV-1454-T-35-EAS (M.D. Fla.)

How to Report Miami Medicare Fraud

Healthcare professionals or medical billing employees who have knowledge of questionable Medicare billing practices can file a confidential legal claim under the False Claims Act. By acting as a “whistleblower” in what is known as a “qui tam” lawsuit, a private party may collect up to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam Law Firm

The Miami Qui Tam law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely works with whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss your case.