SUMMIT — The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA) has presented its Investigation of the Year Award to a team of federal and state agencies and a Medicare Part C health plan that together helped uncover a multimillion-dollar health care fraud scheme committed by now-convicted Mississippi physician Meera Sachdeva.
The joint investigation into the treatment and billing practices of Meera Sachdeva, who owned and operated the Rose Cancer Center in Summit, was initiated by a referral from the Compliance Department of Windsor Health Plan, Inc., and uncovered a staggering number of serious quality of care issues, including: using blood testing equipment that was inoperable, resulting in patients undergoing chemotherapy without receiving medically necessary tests; nurses providing oncology services to patients without required physician supervision (when Sachdeva was out of the country, for instance); frequently administering expired, recalled and possibly even diluted drugs to cancer patients; and reusing sterile supplies, such as needles, that tragically resulted in at least nine patients of the Rose Cancer Center being infected with Hepatitis and HIV. In addition to causing patient harm, Sachdeva’s practice also submitted false claims and overbilled insurers for prescription drugs that ran into the millions of dollars.
Rather than face trial, Sachdeva pleaded guilty to health care fraud, money laundering, and false statements against Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and 48 commercial insurance companies. In December 2012, Sachdeva was sentenced to 20 years in prison, ordered to pay a $250,000 fine, make $8.1 million in restitution, and ordered to forfeit assets totaling $5.6 million.
“While the economic impact of the Sachdeva case is certainly substantial and illustrates what’s financially at stake for our nation’s health care system, the case also sadly sheds light on the life-threatening human effects that occur when the trust between physician and patient is violated by greed. It is particularly insidious when vulnerable patients, who are in a fight for their lives, are betrayed,” said NHCAA’s CEO Louis Saccoccio. “This case is a superlative example of investigative collaboration among federal and state agencies and a private health plan resulting in a significant anti-fraud success. NHCAA is proud to present this year’s Investigation of the Year Award to this remarkable team of professionals.”