Memorial Hermann Endoscopy and Surgery Center physicians to pay $1.5M+ to settle Medicare fraud allegations

North Houston, Texas-based Memorial Hermann Endoscopy and Surgery Center physicians agreed to pay more than $1.5 million to settle Medicare fraud allegations, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Here's what you should know:

1. Gurunath Thota Reddy, MD, and other surgery center physicians allegedly performed colonoscopies for 7.5 years that Medicare deemed "essentially worthless."

2. United Surgical Partners International operates the center, while the physicians are part of Houston-based Digestive & Liver Disease Consultants PA.

Houston-based Memorial Hermann Health System is a minority owner.

3. A former nurse claimed center physicians were spending as little as two minutes on a colonoscopy, while not examining the entire colon. The nurse also claimed Dr. Reddy allegedly reused surgical gowns to save money.

The nurse was fired the day after she brought the issues to the attention of USPI's regional vice president. The practice's lawyer Gene Besen disputed the timing and reason behind her dismissal.

4. No liability was determined in the fraud case.

5. Mr. Besen said in a statement the practice settled, "to avoid the cost of defending allegations and to continue to serve the community with the highest quality of care and standards as they have done for the last three decades." Mr. Besen said the physicians have repeatedly denied the allegations.

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