Doctor Settles False Claims Act Allegations That He Submitted Claims For Medically Unnecessary Tests

by Andrew Murray | December 16th, 2019

The Department of Justice announced the settlement on December 5, 2019. The Press Release states:

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Noman Thanwy, M.D., an internist in Cambridge, Maryland, associated with the medical practice known as M.S. Shariff, M.D., P.A., has paid the United States $176,686.00 to settle allegations that he submitted false claims to the United States for medically unnecessary autonomic nervous function tests and vestibular function tests. 

The settlement agreement was announced today by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Maureen Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services.

In his practice, Dr. Thanwy administered peripheral autonomic nervous function tests and vestibular function tests.  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.  Furthermore, such tests should be conducted only one time per beneficiary, with the necessary equipment, and only by clinicians with specialized training to administer and interpret these tests.  Vestibular function tests are tests of function intended to determine whether there is something wrong with the vestibular portion of the inner ear.  

According to the settlement agreement, from October 1, 2015 to May 30, 2019, Dr. Thanwy submitted claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary autonomic nervous function tests.  The United States alleged that autonomic nervous function tests were not medically necessary because Dr. Thanwy 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 Dr. Thanwy only used the tests to monitor patient symptoms, not make any clinical decisions about future patient care.  Further, the United States alleged that the vestibular function tests were not medically necessary, because an evaluation of a patient’s symptoms was not done prior to ordering the tests, nor were the test results used for clinical decision making.

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