Date: June 10, 2022
The Los Angeles Daily News, along with other media, reported on the $9.48 million settlement of a case filed by whistleblowers Elize Oganesyan and Damon Davies. Ms. Oganesyan and Mr. Davies will share an award of more than $1.75 million for their role in revealing Medicare fraud by their former employer, Minas Kochumian, a doctor who admitted that he submitted payment claims for procedures and tests that never happened. The whistleblowers were represented by TELG principal Janel Quinn.
Northridge doctor agrees to pay nearly $9.5 million to settle healthcare fraud lawsuit
A Northridge doctor, already sentenced to more than three years in prison for pleading guilty to federal health care fraud, was ordered to pay … $9.5 million after settling with state [and federal] officials for submitting false claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal over a seven year period, state officials said Friday, June 10.
Dr. Minas Kochumian, who owns a practice on Roscoe Boulevard in Northridge, fraudulently billed Medicare and Medi-Cal for drugs, procedures, services and tests that were never administered to patients from 2011 to 2018, California Attorney General Rob Bonta said.
Of the nearly $9.5 million settlement, California will receive more than $630,000, Bonta said.
The lawsuit was filed in Sacramento federal court by a former medical assistant and a former informational technology consultant in October 2017 under whistleblower provisions of state and federal False Claims Acts, Bonta said.
The two former employees alleged the doctor submitted false claims for payment of skin allergy tests when the office didn’t have the necessary equipment to provide them, according to the complaint. They also alleged he submitted claims for payment of aorta scans on days that the technician who administers them was not at the office.
Los Angeles Doctor to Pay $9.5 Million to Resolve Allegations of Fraud Against Medicare and Medi-Cal
From the U.S. Department of Justice (Jun. 10, 2022)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced today that Minas Kochumian M.D., a physician previously practicing in the Los Angeles area, has paid $9,486,287 to resolve allegations that he submitted false claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal for procedures and tests that were never performed. These payments include nearly $5.5 million paid by Kochumian as criminal restitution following his guilty plea to one count of health care fraud, in a separate criminal case filed in the Central District of California.
The civil settlement resolves contentions by the United States and the State of California that Kochumian, over a period of more than six years ending in April 2018, submitted claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal for procedures, services, and tests that were never conducted or administered to patients, including injections of medication designed to treat osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, drainage of tailbone cysts, and the removal and destruction of various growths. As part of the settlement agreement announced today, Kochumian admitted that he intentionally submitted false claims for payment with the intent to deceive the United States and California. In doing so, Kochumian violated both the federal False Claims Act and the California False Claims Act. Those statutes allow the government to recover damages and penalties for the presentation of false claims for payment to the United States and the State of California, respectively.
The civil settlement with Kochumian resolves allegations originally brought in a lawsuit filed by relators Elize Oganesyan and Damon Davies, Kochumian’s former medical assistant and former informational technology consultant, under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. The Act permits private parties to sue on behalf of the government for false claims for government funds and to receive a share of any recovery. The whistleblowers who filed the case against Kochumian will receive more than $1.75 million as their share of the recovery announced today. The whistleblowers’ claims for attorneys’ fees are not resolved by this settlement.
Northridge Doctor to Pay Over $9.48M to Settle Fraud Allegations
From The San Fernando Valley Sun (Jun. 10, 2022)
LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A previously convicted Northridge doctor will pay more than $9.48 million to settle allegations that he submitted false claims to the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs, state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced today.
Dr. Minas Kochumian allegedly billed the health insurance programs for drugs, procedures, services and tests that were never administered to patients, Bonta said.
Of the $9.48 million, the state of California will receive $630,099, the attorney general said.
“When doctors misuse the state’s Medi-Cal funds, they violate their Hippocratic Oath by harming a program which exists to help California’s Medi-Cal population, including the elderly, the sick and the vulnerable,” Bonta said in a statement.
“Dr. Kochumian’s alleged misconduct violated the trust of the patients in his care, and he selfishly pocketed funds that would otherwise have gone towards critical publicly funded healthcare services,” he said, adding that the settlement sends a message that “deceitful actions that jeopardize state funds and prey on Medi-Cal recipients will not be tolerated.”
California Internist to Pay $9.5 Million in Medicare, Medi-Cal Fraud Scheme
From Medscape (June 13, 2022)
A Los Angeles County internist will pay nearly $9.5 million to resolve accusations that he submitted false claims to Medicare and California’s Medicaid program.
Part of the payment was a settlement in a civil case in which Minas Kochumian, MD, an internist who ran a solo practice in Northridge, California, was accused of submitting claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal for procedures, services, and tests that were never performed. The procedures he falsely billed for included injecting a medication for treating osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, draining tailbone cysts, and removal of various growths.
Northridge Physician to Serve Time & Pay $9.5M Restitution for Fraud
From WorkCompAcademy.com (June 13, 2022)
Minas Kochumian M.D., a physician previously practicing in the Los Angeles area, has agreed to pay $9,486,287 to resolve allegations that he submitted false claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal for procedures and tests that were never performed.
Kochumian’s medical corporation reportedly practiced under the name California Medical And Rehabilitation Group, located at 18546 Roscoe Blvd, 312, Northridge, California. The mailing address for California Medical And Rehabilitation Group was 2980 N Beverly Glen Cir, 301, Los Angeles.
Kochumian pleaded guilty to one count of federal health care fraud, and on May 2, 2022, he was sentenced to a prison term of three years and five months and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5.4 million. This sum is included in the overall civil lawsuit settlement amount.
Whistleblowers win $1.75M in physician’s $9.5M Medicare fraud settlement
From Becker’s ASC Review (June 10, 2022)
Minas Kochumian, MD, paid $9.49 million to settle allegations that he submitted false claims to CMS and Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, for procedures and tests that were never performed, the Justice Department said June 10.
Dr. Kochumian admitted he intentionally submitted false claims for payment, the department said. For more than six years, ending in April 2018, he submitted claims for osteoporosis and osteoarthritis medication injections, tailbone cyst drainages, and the removal and destruction of various growths. Those procedures were never performed.