Press Release: 2019-11-08

Surgeon Resolves Allegations of Falsely Billing MassHealth

Surgeon Resolves Allegations of Falsely Billing MassHealth


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
11/07/2019

BOSTON — A Dover doctor has agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve allegations that he caused his employer to inappropriately bill the state’s Medicaid Program (MassHealth) for portions of surgical procedures that never took place and office visits that he did not attend or supervise, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

Under the terms of a settlement agreement, Ingolf Tuerk, a medical doctor who practiced urology at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton, will pay $150,000 to resolve allegations that he caused improper billings to MassHealth of over $31,000. Dr. Tuerk must also implement a multi-year compliance program at his own expense if he continues to practice medicine in Massachusetts after 2019.

“False billing is a serious issue that hurts people in need of health care,” said AG Healey. “It is important that all doctors follow the law, and our office will aggressively pursue those who overbill our health care system.”

The AG’s Office alleges that Dr. Tuerk instructed his residents and fellows to document the use of ultrasound probes during partial nephrectomies (kidney removal) in patient medical records, even when they had not been used during surgeries. The AG’s Office also alleges that Dr. Tuerk billed MassHealth for office visits that used billing codes indicating he was present or supervising other medical professionals, despite patients only being seen by an unsupervised resident or fellow.

The AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division continues to be a leader in recovering funds for MassHealth. In fiscal year 2018, the Division recovered more than $45 million for the program through civil settlements and criminal fraud convictions.

Members of the public who are aware of similar practices by other physicians or health care providers should call the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division at (617) 963-2360 or file a complaint through the Attorney General’s website.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Philip Schreiber and Investigator Katherine Suttmeier, of AG Healey’s Medicaid Fraud Division. Substantial assistance was provided by the Board of Registration in Medicine.

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