The Gist: An Alternative medicine doctor in Ringgold was found guilty of violating the False Claims Act recently.
Alternative medicine physician Charles C. Adams, M.D. and his practice group Charles C. Adams, M.D., P.C. have been found guilty of violating the False Claims Act by submitting false diagnoses to Medicare for chelation therapy reimbursements.
What Happened?: According to prosecutors, Charles C. Adams operated a medical practice in Ringgold, where he used edetate calcium disodium (“EDTA”) to address a wide range of conditions including atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, headaches, GI ailments, fatigue, and other generalized symptoms.
However, EDTA is a procedure recognized by the Federal Drug Administration to treat lead poisoning and lead encephalopathy, and Medicare did not cover its use for these non-indicated symptoms.
Prosecutors say Adams falsely claimed to Medicare that his patients suffered from heavy metal poisoning to receive payment for the procedures.
The government filed a civil complaint alleging that between November 2008 and September 2015, Adams and Full Circle engaged in a scheme involving the knowing submission of false claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary and “alternative” chelation therapy that Adams administered using EDTA. The complaint also alleged that in connection with this scheme, Adams and Full Circle unlawfully received approximately $1.1 million in Medicare reimbursements.
By The Numbers:
- More than 4,400 false claims were submitted to Medicare by Adams and Full Circle.
- The jury awarded more than $1.1 million in damages.
- The damages will be trebled under the FCA, with a civil penalty to be imposed for each claim.
Why It Matters: Healthcare providers who submit false claims to Medicare deplete the funds available to patients in critical need of covered medical procedures. The False Claims Act is the primary authority used by the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to redress fraud, waste, and abuse within federal programs, including Medicare. This case serves as a warning to healthcare providers who engage in misconduct.
What’s Next?: The exact amount of the judgment will not be known until the court decides post-trial motions. The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being litigated by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony DeCinque and Akash Desai.