HOUSTON – Dr. Gurunath Thota Reddy, Memorial Hermann
Endoscopy and Surgery Center North Houston, United Surgical Partners
International and Digestive & Liver Disease Consultants P.A. have entered
into an agreement to pay $1,575,000 to settle allegations of Medicare fraud,
announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez and Special Agent in Charge C.J.
Porter of the Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector
General (DHHS-OIG). The claims resolved by this settlement are only allegations
and there has been no determination of liability.
The Medicare claims included in the settlement date from
April 1, 2007, through Nov. 30, 2014.
An endoscopy nurse formerly employed by Memorial Hermann
Endoscopy and Surgery Center initialed the matter. She alleged that Reddy and
other physicians who performed colonoscopies at Memorial Hermann Endoscopy and
Surgery Center North Houston failed to meet established medical standards. She
claimed Reddy and other physicians performed procedures at the center so
quickly that they were essentially worthless. By failing to take the necessary
amount of time to closely examine the colon, precancerous lesions could be
She also claimed that, in the interest of saving time, the
physicians would not always examine the entire colon and would sometimes spend
as little as two minutes on a colonoscopy. She also alleged the surgery center
did not follow established guidelines for sanitation, claiming Reddy would not
put on a clean gown prior to each procedure in order to save money.
“When Medicare pays for a patient to undergo a medical
procedure, Medicare expects the health care provider to follow established
medical standards of care and sanitation,” said Martinez. “There is no excuse
for shortcutting quality in order to increase revenues.”
“Boosting profits with shortcuts to standard medical
procedures is unacceptable and at the expense of patient safety,” said Porter.
“Working with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to protect
Medicare and Medicaid patients from substandard care.”
The experienced endoscopy nurse who brought the allegations
further claimed she was fired the day after she complained to the Regional Vice
President of United Surgical Partners about the problems she
The FBI, DHHS-OIG and investigators for the U.S. Attorney’s
Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Zingaro
handled the litigation on this matter.