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3 Tucson heart docs settle Medicare case for $355K

Citizen Staff Writer



Three Tucson cardiologists have agreed to pay $355,000 in a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice of a case involving Medicare’s physician self-referral law.

Dr. Lee Goldberg said Wednesday that he and three members of the former business, Tucson Cardiovascular Imaging, reported themselves to the federal government after learning that their business was not in compliance.

The payment is part of a settlement between Dr. Richard A. Cohn, Dr. Timothy M. Marshall and Goldberg, and the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Inspector General. It was signed by all parties on March 5 and stated that the doctors had 15 days from that date to pay the full amount.

In November, Dr. Mark Goldberg, Lee Goldberg’s brother, agreed to pay the federal government $135,000 for the same reason. He settled separately from his three business partners.

Lee Goldberg said the group had legal counsel that helped set up a nuclear imaging business in 2006.

“All we wanted was to make sure it was legal,” Goldberg said.

He said the nuclear imaging machinery used to look for blocked arteries is too expensive for one private practice to run on its own. The four doctors joined together to open the business.

He said somebody “looked at our business model and advised that it wasn’t compliant. . . . We were advised to self-report ourselves to the government.”

Goldberg said the business was shut down shortly thereafter.

The settlement information released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona did not include details of the business practices or the legal violations, other than to say that the doctors were in violation of physician self-referral laws, commonly referred to as the “Stark Law,” which resulted in false claims for payment to Medicare.

None of the doctors has been previously sanctioned by the Arizona Medical Board.

Board spokesman Roger Downey said the board will investigate the doctors. He said that the board could find that the doctors committed unprofessional conduct and, at a minimum, could issue letters of reprimand.

LeeGoldberg said he is not worried about a medical board investigation because he believes the doctors did not do anything wrong and were quick to report themselves when they learned they were not in compliance with federal regulations.

According to the board’s agenda for April, Mark Goldberg has agreed to a “consent agreement.” Downey said he did not know the details of that agreement or if it was related to the settlement.

3 Tucson cardiologists settle Medicare case for $355,000

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