West Chester Hospital settles at $4.1 million for role in Durran - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

West Chester Hospital settles at $4.1 million for role in Durrani scandal

Dr. Durrani (PHOTO: FOX19 File) Dr. Durrani (PHOTO: FOX19 File)
WEST CHESTER, OH (FOX19) -

West Chester Hospital and parent company UC Health agreed on a settlement to resolve allegations that the hospital billed health care programs for costs associated with unnecessary surgeries performed by Dr. Abubakar Durrani, the Department of Justice announced. 

The settlement amount is $4.1 million. West Chester Hospital allegedly knowingly submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for hospital charges related to medically unnecessary spine surgeries by Dr. Durrani, the Department of Justice announced on Friday.  

“Hospitals have a responsibility to ensure that services provided at their facilities are medically necessary and appropriate before they bill federal health care programs for those services,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “When providers charge for medically unnecessary services, we will aggressively seek remedies under the False Claims Act.”

Dr. Durrani was arrested on federal charges in 2013 from federal complaints alleging that he convinced patients to undergo medically unnecessary spinal surgeries and then billed private and public healthcare benefit programs for the services. 

Justice Department officials said, "Any time greed replaces medical necessity as the primary factor in performing invasive surgeries on Medicare and Medicaid patients our most vulnerable citizens are imperiled."

UC Health says they just want to put the matter behind them.  They released the following statement about the allegations:

We expressly deny the government's allegations and admit no liability, but to avoid delay, uncertainty and expense of litigation, UC Health and West Chester voluntarily pursued and entered into this settlement. We have agreed to refund certain payments under Medicare and Medicaid in connection with procedures performed by a surgeon at West Chester Hospital. The surgeon was not an employee of UC Health or West Chester Hospital but had privileges at West Chester Hospital for a time. 

FOX19 NOW spoke with Kelcie Thomson of Walton, Kentucky, a patient of Dr. Durrani's ten years ago, who doesn't look at him differently as a doctor. 

"He was just a very caring and sensitive man toward me and I could have been that I was a child, but I still think to this day that he was a great doctor in my eyes," said Thomson. 

The U.S. Attorney's Office announced last year that Durrani had fled the country, possibly going to Pakistan. He remains a fugitive, according to the Department of Justice. 

Copyright 2015 WXIX. All rights reserved.

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