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Indian-origin doctor pleads guilty to healthcare fraud in US

Washington:  An Indian-origin doctor has pleaded guilty to a healthcare fraud in the US, the Justice Department said.

Jayam Krishna Iyer, 66, from Clearwater, Florida, pleaded guilty to one count of the healthcare fraud earlier this week and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison, or 20 years, if her offence involves serious bodily injury, the Department said in a press release.

As part of the plea on Tuesday, Iyer agreed to surrender both her Drug Enforcement Administration registration number that she used to prescribe controlled substances, her Florida medical licence, and to a permanent exclusion from the Medicare and Medicaid programmes.

According to officials, Iyer owned and operated Creative Medical Centre in Clearwater that functioned as a pain management clinic.

She billed Medicare and Medicaid for office visits, tests and services provided to patients using her National Provider Identification number, as well as wrote prescriptions for controlled substances.

Beginning as early as July 2011 and continuing through December 2017, Iyer executed and carried out a scheme to defraud Medicare by billing for face-to-face office visits with Medicare beneficiaries, when, in fact, certain patients did not go to her centre and were not examined by her on the claimed dates.

Instead, family members of the patients went to her with notes requesting her to issue and provide prescriptions.

Officials said that she thereby violated a law requiring doctors to perform an in-person office visit and examination of each patient before issuing controlled substance prescriptions.

Iyer also falsified her electronic medical records to make it appear that the patient was present in her office. She submitted at least $51,500 in these types of false and fraudulent Medicare claims, the release said.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Florida Office of Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Kelley Howard-Allen.