Feds eye $147M paid to ASC, clinic owner for uninsured COVID-19 patient treatment

A California surgeon's medical practice and ASCs received about $147 million in government funds meant for facilities treating uninsured COVID-19 patients, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Five details:

1. HHS took note of the nearly $81 million paid to Elite Care Medical Group in Westminster, Calif., and notified the U.S. Justice Department, according to the March 29 report. Elite Care received more from the fund than any hospital or other healthcare provider in the U.S. except Houston-based Harris Health System.

2. Anthony Dinh, MD, operates Elite Care as well two Garden Grove, Calif.-based surgery centers: Garden Grove Outpatient Surgery Center, which received $16 million in federal funds, and Elite E.N.T. & Plastic Surgery Medical Center, which received $50 million.

3. The practice said it is examining its bills and found errors in the claims submitted to HHS. Dr. Dinh's attorney told The Journal Elite Care has funds set aside for reimbursement when its audit is complete.

4. Elite Care provided a treatment designed to reduce viral load in the noses of COVID-19 patients and speed their recovery, according to Dr. Dinh's attorney. However, Adarsh Bhimraj, who manages COVID-19 treatment guidelines for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, told The Journal there's no evidence that nasal sprays reduce COVID-19 spread.

5. The HHS Office of the Inspector General did not confirm or deny an investigation into the payments.


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