Nevada doctor Dipak Desai guilty in $2.2 million scheme to overcharge for anesthesia
Doctors overstated the amount of time the nurse anesthetists spent with patients, pocketing about 9 percent of the reimbursement.
The former owner of a defunct Nevada endoscopy center has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and other private health insurance companies by inflating and overcharging for anesthesia services, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Nevada.
Dipak Desai, MD, 65, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty April 2 to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of healthcare fraud and will forfeit up to $2.2 million, according to authorities.
Desai faces a maximum of five years in prison on the conspiracy count, 10 years on the healthcare fraud count, and maximum fines of $250,000 for each count.
The plea comes less than two years after Desai was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a deadly hepatitis C outbreak in Nevada.
Last July, Desai’s co-defendant and CEO of the endoscopy center, Tonya Rushing, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, according to the feds.
Between January 2005 and February 2008, Desai and Rushing conspired to overcharge Medicare, Medicaid, and other private health insurance companies at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada by significantly overstating the amount of time the certified registered nurse anesthetists spent with patients on a given procedure.
Desai and Rushing created a separate company, Healthcare Business Solutions, owned by Rushing, to handle the billing for the anesthesia services, according to the U.S. Attorney. This company received about 9 percent of all money collected for anesthesia services rendered at the endoscopy center.
Desai and Rushing also put intense pressure on the endoscopy center employees to schedule and treat as many patients as possible in a day, and instructed the nurse anesthetists to overstate in their records the amount of time they spent on the anesthesia procedures, the charges state. Desai and Rushing also instructed the office staff to rely on the false anesthesia records when preparing the claims for reimbursement which were sent to Medicare, Medicaid and the insurance companies, according to the plea.
In 2013, Desai was sentenced with life in prison after being found guilty of neglect and unsafe practices that led to a 2007 outbreak of hepatitis C. He was found also guilty of second-degree murder for the death of a 77-year-old patient. Desai routinely “double dipped” injection needles, spreading the infection among patients.
That investigation resulted in more than 64,000 people being urged to get tested for the blood infection.
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