Washington: An Indian-American doctor couple has been indicted on charges of committing healthcare fraud by performing unnecessary medical tests and procedures on patients to get payouts from insurance companies.
Dr Ashis K Rakhit, 65, and his wife Jayati Gupta Rakhit, 56, specialise in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine and practiced in Cleveland, Ohio.
According to the indictment, the Rakhits ordered and performed unnecessary medical tests between 2011 and 2018, including unnecessary nuclear stress tests, cardiac catheterizations, bone density scans, echocardiograms, EKGs, carotid artery scans, venous ultrasounds of the legs and abdominal ultrasounds.
They also recorded false symptoms in patient records to justify medically unnecessary tests on patients, including shortness of breath, palpitations, hypertension and abnormalities in breathing, according to the indictment.
The Rakhits billed Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers with inflated codes to reflect a service more costly than that which was actually performed, according to the indictment.
The Rakhits also intentionally distributed and dispensed controlled substances outside the usual course of medical practice.
Ashis Rakhit is charged with distributing Percocet and Xanax in 2017, while Jayati Rakhit is charged with distributing Tramadol, according to the indictment.
“This couple violated the trust of their patients, the taxpayers and the community,” US Attorney Justin E Herdman said.
“They performed unnecessary medical tests and billed for services they didn’t actually provide in exchange for prescription medications – all of this at a time when our region is inundated in opioid deaths and addiction,” he said.
“Not only did these physicians put their patients through unnecessary medical procedures so they could line their pockets with extra income, they also prescribed controlled narcotics that were not medically required,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D Anthony.