ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. — A local doctor has agreed to a nearly $2 million settlement after a 9-year court battle.
Federal prosecutors say the Rockdale County doctor performed tests and even surgeries patients did not need and then charged the federal government.
Even after agreeing to pay the penalties, the doctor claims she’s innocent.
Dr. Aarti Pandya’s office was open Monday when Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray stopped by and she was seeing patients.
Pandya rushed out of the room when Gray tried to speak with her. Her office called the sheriff’s office to tell Gray and his photographer they had to leave the property.
On the day federal prosecutors announced Pandya would pay them nearly $2 million in a settlement, she sent Channel 2 Action News a message from her attorney claiming she never did anything wrong.
She’s still open for business with an active medical license at her Rockdale County office, affiliated with Piedmont Health -- even after coming to a deal with federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Monday to pay $1.85 million to “resolve allegations” that she billed Medicare and Medicaid for both medically unnecessary procedures and some procedures that never occurred.
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Juan Martinez, with Morgan & Morgan, represents the whistleblower who turned the information over to federal authorities.
“Our client brought forth allegations that patients were receiving unnecessary tests which were then subsequently billed to the government,” Martinez said.
The justice department goes even further alleging that Pandya performed “medically unnecessary cataract extraction surgeries in some cases caused injury to her patients” and that the government alleged that Pandya falsely diagnosed patients with glaucoma to justify unnecessary diagnostic testing.
While Pandya would not talk to Gray, her attorney sent a statement denying any wrongdoing even though she has agreed to pay nearly $2 million in restitution.
“Rather than continue to expend significant time and resources defending herself against these unfounded allegations, which were initially filed in 2013, Dr. Pandya made a business decision to resolve the case without any admission of liability or wrongdoing so she can go back to serving her patients,” the statement said.
While Pandya denies she did anything wrong Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General said about this case, “subjecting individuals to extraneous procedures just to bilk the health care programs on which they rely is the antithesis of proper medical care.”
In her statement, Pandya attacked the character and record of the whistleblower -- her former bookkeeper.
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