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thedrifter
05-01-07, 02:44 PM
Doctor accused of TRICARE fraud
The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday May 1, 2007 13:42:20 EDT

OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal government has filed a civil lawsuit against a hand surgeon, accusing him of making more than $2.6 million in false claims to Medicaid, Medicare and the military’s TRICARE program.

The lawsuit seeks more than $40 million in damages from the surgeon, Houshang Seradge, his associates and family members.

Seradge and his Orthopaedic & Reconstructive Center business released a joint statement Monday, stating “reimbursement rules are complicated and subject to varying and sometimes inconsistent interpretations. Dr. Seradge ... and the others named in this matter deny any intentional breach of any such rules.”

The lawsuit accuses Seradge and his associates of filing more than 6,400 false claims.

The lawsuit also alleges that Seradge’s daughter, Espanta Seradge Steppe, and his mother, Hadjieh Hassani, both were employees of Seradge and received compensation from money obtained by fraud.

No criminal charges have been filed.

Under federal law, government attorneys are seeking recovery of the $2.6 million, triple that amount in damages, plus $5,000 to $11,000 for each false claim that allegedly was filed.

The false billings allegedly were submitted and paid between 1994 and the present, according to documents filed in federal court in Oklahoma City.

Fraud allegations against Seradge initially were made in a civil lawsuit filed under seal seven years ago by three former employees.

Seradge, in his statement, described the three former employees as “disgruntled” and said one of them “previously brought an unsuccessful suit against Dr. Seradge.”

Seradge said he plans to continue providing medical care in Oklahoma City.

Ellie