California pain management physician pays $1.2 million to settle whistleblower's case

by Ben Vernia | November 24th, 2014

On November 19, the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California announced a settlement in a qui tam case against a pain management doctor for submitting false claims. According to the U.S. Attorney’s press release:

A doctor who operates a pain management clinic in Valencia has agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve allegations that he submitted fraudulent bills and received improper payments from federal and state health insurance programs.

In a case partially unsealed today, Dr. Narinder S. Grewal, of Chatsworth, and his pain clinic, the Santa Clarita Surgery Center for Advanced Pain Management agreed to pay $1,087,176.09 to the United States and $112,823.91 to the State of California.

The settlement concludes a federal “whistleblower” lawsuit filed by Chandana Basu, who used to provide billing and collection services to the Grewal’s clinic.
Basu’s lawsuit alleged that Grewal and his clinic obtained improper reimbursements from government-run health insurance programs, including Medicare, Medi-Cal and Tricare, a federal health insurance program for military and related military personnel. The lawsuit alleged that Grewal and his clinic submitted fraudulent claims by “upcoding” medical services, which means that he allegedly submitted bills that were not justified by the services that were actually provided.

The settlement was announced today after United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford unsealed the lawsuit. The parties have asked the court to dismiss the suit, which was filed pursuant to federal and state False Claims Acts.

The whisteblower will receive $204,000 of the settlement (a 17% share of the state and federal portions), the government announced.

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