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Cambridge internist pays more than $176,000 in settlement

Posted at 12:31 AM, Dec 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 16:15:06-05

CAMBRIDGE, Md. — An internist in Cambridge agreed to pay the United States $176,686 to settle allegations that he submitted false claims for medically unnecessary autonomic nervous function test and vestibular tests.

United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, Maureen Dixon made the announcement Thursday.

According to the release, Dr. Noman Thanwy, an associate with the medical practice known as M.S. Sharriff, M.D., P.A., submitted claims to Medicare for automatic nervous function tests that were not medically necessary.

Autonomic nervous function disorders are relatively uncommon disorders and tests conducted to determine such disorders should be done only after a clinician suspects an autonomic nervous function disorder. Those tests should also only be conducted one time per beneficiary, with the necessary equipment, and only by clinicians with specialized training to administer and interpret these tests. Vestibular function tests are tests of function intended to determine whether there is something wrong with a portion of the inner ear.

According to the settlement agreement, from October 1, 2015 to May 30, 2019, Dr. Thanwy submitted claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary and autonomic nervous function tests. The United States alleged that those tests were not medically necessary because the internist lacked the necessary equipment or specific training to conduct the tests, the patients did not have an autonomic nervous function disorder before the test was conducted, and that Dr. Thanwy only used the test to monitor patient symptoms, not make clinical decisions about their care. The United States also claimed that the vestibular function tests were not medically necessary, because an evaluation of a patient’s symptoms was not completed prior to ordering the tests.

The civil settlement reached by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland came from an initiative inside the U.S. Attorney’s Office.