Pain Clinic Chain to Pay $11.4M to Settle Medicare and Medicaid Fraud Claims

by | Jul 26, 2023 | Health

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The owner of one of California’s largest chains of pain management clinics has agreed to pay nearly $11.4 million to California, Oregon, and the federal government to settle allegations of Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the states’ attorneys general say Francis Lagattuta, a physician, and his Lags Medical Centers performed — and billed for — medically unnecessary tests and procedures on thousands of patients over more than five years. It was “a brazen scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid of millions of dollars by inflicting unnecessary and painful procedures on patients whom they were supposed to be relieving of pain,” Phillip Talbert, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, said in a statement this month.

The federal Medicare program suspended reimbursements to Lags Medical in June 2020, and Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, followed in May 2021. Lags Medical shut down the same day the state suspended reimbursements. The company, based in Lompoc, California, had more than 30 pain clinics, most of them in the Central Valley and the Central Coast.

A KFF Health News review last year found the abrupt closure left more than 20,000 California patients — mostly working-class people on government-funded insurance — struggling to obtain their medical records or continue receiving pain prescriptions, which often included opioids.

Lagattuta and Lags Medical did not admit liability under the settlement. Lagattuta denied the governments’ claims, saying in a statement he was “pleased” to announce the settlement of a “long-stand …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This