An Indian-origin woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay a penalty of over $14 million on charges of healthcare fraud.

Meera Sachdeva of Mississippi was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on charges that she defrauded federal insurance programme Medicare by submitting false claims for chemotherapy services, US Attorney Gregory Davis said in a statement.

Sachdeva, who owned and operated a cancer centre, had pleaded guilty in July this year to submitting claims for chemotherapy services that were supposedly rendered when she was out of the country.

She was also ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and restitution of over $8.1 million. The forfeiture of approximately $six million and property was also ordered.

She had admitted billing for more chemotherapy drugs than she actually purchased from drug suppliers from 2007 to 2011.

Her patients believed that they were receiving an amount of chemotherapy medicine that was equal to the amount being billed to their respective healthcare benefit programmes, but she was not providing each patient with the fully prescribed dosage of many of the billed chemotherapy drugs.

“The healthcare fraud perpetrated by the defendant was an abuse of public trust motivated by greed,” Davis said.

Special Agent in Charge of the US Department of Health and Human Services Derrick Jackson said Sachdeva violated her duty to provide appropriate care for the patients at the cancer centre.

“Our office takes quality of care concerns very seriously, and we will vigorously investigate any provider that shortchanges patients and steals from the Medicare Trust Fund.’’

(This article was published on December 11, 2012)
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