WXXI AM News

Doctors pay $2 Million in Fines

Rochester NY – A Rochester-area medical practice has agreed to pay the federal government $2 million in fines for sending false bills to Medicare.

The U.S. Department of Justice says the seven cardiac surgeons falsely billed Medicare for assistant surgeons' fees. Blue Cross/ Blue Shield of the Rochester Area has also filed a $1.2 million dollar lawsuit against the same doctors. Blue Cross claims they submitted fraudulent billing over a five year period involving over 1,800 cases.

The surgeons are part of the Genesee Valley Cardiothoracic Group, which specializes in heart-bypass surgeries. The government says they routinely submitting reimbursement claims for both a primary surgeon and an assistant surgeon during heart surgeries. That's a problem, because Medicare generally won't pay for an assistant at a teaching hospital, because medical residents at those hospitals are already payid for by another federal program.