Wichita cardiologist agrees to pay $5.8 million for alleged false billings, unnecessary procedures

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Wichita cardiologist Joseph Galichia has agreed to pay $5.8 million to settle claims that he and his medical group, Galichia Medical Group, P.A. improperly billed federal health care programs for medically unnecessary cardiac stent procedures.

(Source: Absolutely Public Relations)

READ STATEMENT FROM DR. GALICHIA

He has also agreed to a three-year period of exclusion from participation in any federal health care program.

The Justice Department claims that Galichia and GMED knowingly submitted false billings from Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec.31, 2014, for surgical procedures in which Galichia implanted coronary stents that were not medically necessary. The allegedly false billings were submitted to Medicare, the Defense Health Agency, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

“Patient safety is critically important,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister for the District of Kansas. “Performing medically unnecessary procedures puts patients at risk and defrauds federal health care programs.”

“When a physician bills the government for medically unnecessary procedures, both patients’ health and taxpayers can end up paying the price,” said Special Agent in Charge Steve Hanson of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “OIG is excluding Dr. Galichia from participation in Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs, and we will continue to work with our partners to protect the health and welfare of Medicare beneficiaries.”

Dr. Galichia's attorney says all the stent procedures were medically necessary and met all the American College of Cardiology guidelines.

Dr. Galichia agreed to settle, his attorney says, because the case was taking too much time to fight and he wants to put it behind him. Dr. Galichia's attorney also says the former employee who accused him of wrongdoing was disgruntled and says the fact that he settled with the government does not mean he's guilty of the accusations.

This is the government’s third False Claims Act settlement with Galichia and GMED. In 2009, Galichia and GMED paid $1.3 million to settle allegations that they submitted claims for services not provided or lacking proper documentation. In 2000, Galichia and GMED paid $1.5 million to settle allegations that they submitted claims for a higher level of service than provided, billed twice for the same services, and billed for services not provided.

***For many years, Dr. Galichia appeared on Eyewitness News at Noon answering viewer's medical questions. We want to let you know, he will no longer appear on our broadcasts. His appearances were voluntary. He did not receive money for being a guest, and he did not pay to be on our show.***