Wilmington doctor, medical practice pays $244K to settle civil fraud claims

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington doctor and his former practice group, Wilmington Health, have agreed to pay more than $244,000 to settle civil claims for improper payments made under the Medicare and Tricare programs, the US attorney says.

According to documents filed with federal court, this investigation began with a self-disclosure from New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington. The hospital reported that an internal audit uncovered potentially false claims for cardiac stenting procedures that Dr. Damien Brezinski performed in that facility.

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The United States’ independent investigation confirmed that, from 2010 to 2014, Dr. Brezinski repeatedly inserted arterial stents for patients whose medical records did not demonstrate a need for the procedures. Dr. Brezinski and Wilmington Health then billed those procedures to Medicare and Tricare, in violation of program requirements and the False Claims Act.

In addition to the resolution with Dr. Brezinski and Wilmington Health, the US attorney says New Hanover Regional Medical Center separately agreed to repay nearly $900,000 in facility fees it received related to the allegedly false claims.

“The United States takes healthcare fraud very seriously,” US Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. said. “Nowhere is that more true than when doctors knowingly perform medical procedures that their patients do not need. The United States will continue to vigorously pursue penalties and damages against health care providers who falsely certify the accuracy of claims they bill to Medicare and Tricare, and in the process risk the health and wellbeing of those under their care.”



The claims resolved by settlement here are allegations only, and that there has been no judicial determination or admission of liability.