A previously convicted LA County doctor will pay more than $9.48 million to settle allegations that he submitted false claims to the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs, state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Friday,
Dr. Minas Kochumian allegedly billed the health insurance programs for drugs, procedures, services and tests that were never administered to patients, Bonta said. Of the $9.48 million, the state of California will receive $630,099, the AG said.
“When doctors misuse the state’s Medi-Cal funds, they violate their Hippocratic Oath by harming a program which exists to help California’s Medi- Cal population, including the elderly, the sick, and the vulnerable,” Bonta said in a statement.
“Dr. Kochumian’s alleged misconduct violated the trust of the patients in his care, and he selfishly pocketed funds that would otherwise have gone towards critical publicly funded healthcare services,” he said, adding that the settlement sends a message that “deceitful actions that jeopardize state funds and prey on Medi-Cal recipients will not be tolerated.”
The case was filed in Sacramento federal court in October 2017 under the whistleblower provisions of state and federal False Claims Acts. The laws permit private parties to file suit on behalf of both the state and federal governments for false claims and to share in a portion of the recoveries. The suit, filed by Kochumian’s former medical assistant and his former informational technology consultant, alleged that between November 2011 and April 2018, the doctor defrauded Medi-Cal by knowingly billing for medical procedures which were not provided. As part of their share of the California settlement, the plaintiffs will receive $116,568, Bonta said.
Kochumian’s fraudulent billing practices were also the subject of an independent federal criminal investigation initiated by a health care fraud strike team based in the Central District of California. The investigation culminated in Kochumian pleading guilty to one federal count of health care fraud, for which he was sentenced last month to three years and five months and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5.4 million.