Indian American Doctor Faces $100,000 Fine After Pleading Guilty to Healthcare Fraud
Sreekrishna Cheruvu was accused of submitting false and fraudulent claims to private insurance companies.
An Indian American doctor is facing a fine of $100,000 after he pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud before a U.S. court on May 25 , authorities were quoted as saying by IANS news agency. Sreekrishna Cheruvu is also facing a maximum penalty of one year in prison.
Cheruvu, 61, admitted to submitting false and fraudulent claims to private insurance companies where he sought reimbursement for counseling sessions for individuals patients suffering from opiod addiction when he was actually conducting group sessions.
One of Cheruvu’s patients, who is also a plaintiff in the case, had earlier alleged that each counseling session was attended by 8 to 15 patients but was billed for individual session.
According to the Justice Department, the doctor, a resident of East Amherst, New York, submitted reimbursement claims for counseling sessions while he was out of the country as well. He was first charged in 2014, after the police conducted a search at his Williamsville office in 2013. The police confiscated records that showed that Cheruvu tried defrauding insurance companies by submitting false claims.
Cheruvu was working as a physician in Amherst between 2011 and 2014 when he submitted fraudulent claims to Independent Health, Univera Healthcare, BlueCross and BlueShield of Western New York (HealthNow), as per the U.S. Attorney’s office. It caused a loss of nearly $200,000 to the insurers.
“Perpetuating fraud on the healthcare industry drives up the cost for everyone, including taxpayers who fund government health care programs and all who contribute directly to their own health care costs,” U.S Attorney Hochul said at the time of the arrest, the American Bazaar reported.
Cheruvu, who was also a participating provider with HealthNow, submitted a claim form on Aug. 7, 2012 for reimbursement for services provided to patient “K.S.” Cheruvu personally provided no services to the patient. “As a result, HealthNow reimbursed the defendant $61.23 for the non-rendered service which the defendant converted to his own use,” the U.S Justice Department said.
Cheruvu has agreed to pay a restitution of up to $550,000 as part of the plea. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 5.