Owner of 2 Tampa vein centers, Dr. Ravi Sharma, agrees to lawsuit settlement

7:48 PM, Jan 7, 2014   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- A Bay area doctor will pay $400,000 in a False Claims Act settlement with The Department of Justice for knowingly billing Medicare for vein injections and physician office visits performed by unqualified personnel.

The government alleged that, between 2009 and 2010, Sharma owned and operated a clinic in the Tampa area called Premier Vein Centers. 

Beginning in 2009, Sharma allegedly sent text messages to his office manager instructing her to perform varicose vein injections on patients when he was not in the office.

The government further alleged that, when Sharma was in the office, he performed unnecessary vein injections and unnecessary ultrasound imaging procedures associated with those vein injections.

Sharma also owned and operated, between 2009 and 2010, a weight loss clinic in the Tampa area called Life's New Image.

Allegedly, unqualified personnel met with patients of the clinic, but Sharma billed those visits as physician office visits using his own Medicare provider number.

Sharma closed Premier Vein Centers and Life's New Image in 2010.

The allegations covered by the settlement were originally raised in a lawsuit filed by Patti Lovell, the former office manager for Sharma. She will receive $72,000.

As part of the settlement, Sharma entered into a three-year Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The agreement requires Sharma to attend training courses provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and provides for an independent external review of his federal health care program coding and billing procedures.

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