Cambridge doctor resolves false claims act allegations with the U.S.
BALTIMORE, Md. – An internist in Cambridge has agreed to pay the United States $176,686 to settle allegations that he submitted false claims to the United States for medically unnecessary autonomic nervous function tests and vestibular function tests.
Noman Thanwy, M.D., who is associated with the medical practice known as M.S. Shariff, M.D., P.A., administered peripheral autonomic nervous function tests and vestibular function tests. According to the release, autonomic nervous function disorders are relatively uncommon disorders and tests conducted to determine such disorders should be done only after a clinician suspects an autonomic nervous function disorder, and those tests should one be conducted one time per beneficiary, with the necessary equipment, and only by clinicians with specialized training to administer and interpret these tests.
The settlement agreement was announced today by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, Maureen Dixon.
According to the settlement agreement, from October 1, 2015 to May 30, 2019, Dr. Thanwy submitted claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary and autonomic nervous function tests. The United States alleged that those tests were not medically necessary because the internist lacked the necessary equipment or specific training to conduct the tests, the patients did not have an autonomic nervous function disorder before the test was conducted, and that Dr. Thanwy only used the test to monitor patient symptoms, not make clinical decisions about their care. The United States also claimed that the vestibular function tests were not medically necessary, because an evaluation of a patient’s symptoms was not completed prior to ordering the tests.
The civil settlement reached by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland arose from an initiative inside the U.S. Attorney’s Office and involved the use of dedicated resources and personnel to review Medicare billing data. The review of that data allowed the U.S. Attorney’s Office to identify areas of concern where it appeared that billing irregularities may have taken place. The Office partnered with the effected agencies to develop the ability to investigate the billing irregularities to determine whether the matter is appropriate for treatment under the False Claims Act.
The United States Department of Justice says the claims resolved by this settlement are allegations and that the settlement is not an admission of liability by Dr. Thanwy, nor a concession by the United State that its claims are not well founded.