(STL.News) – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces today that Dr. Jayam Krishna Iyer has agreed to pay the United States $102,126.98 to resolve allegations that she violated the False Claims Act while practicing as a pain management physician. These civil claims are related to Iyer’s guilty plea to criminal health care fraud in 2018, which involved her billing Medicare for office visits when the patient was not present for the visit and for issuing prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances.
The settlement arises from a lawsuit filed by the United States styled United States v. Jayam Krishna Iyer, M.D., et al., Case No. 8:18-cv-446-WFJ-JSS (M.D. Fla.).
In 2017, the United States Attorney’s Office’s Civil Division opened a civil investigation into whether Iyer had prescribed medically unnecessary prescriptions for opioids in violation of the False Claims Act. Separately, on August 24, 2018, Iyer pleaded guilty to one count of criminal health care fraud based on her fraudulent claims for office visits. As part of the criminal plea agreement, Iyer agreed to forfeit $51,521 paid by Medicare as a result of the fraud and to pay restitution. She was sentenced to serve six months in federal prison. Iyer also agreed to surrender her Florida medical license, as well as the DEA registration which had permitted her to prescribe controlled substances for her patients, and to not reapply for a DEA registration for 20 years. Iyer further agreed to permanent exclusion from Medicare, Medicaid, and all other federal healthcare programs. On February 20, 2019, the United States sued Iyer under the False Claims Act to collect civil damages and penalties based on her admissions as part of her criminal plea.
“By using all of the tools available to law enforcement, including civil enforcement, we in the Middle District of Florida will continue to target medical professionals who flood our streets with dangerous opioids without regard for the health and welfare of their patients,” said U. S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez.
“Writing prescriptions for controlled substances without examining patients – as alleged in this case – indicates that a health care professional is more concerned with profits than patients,” said Special Agent in Charge Omar Pérez Aybar of the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Today’s settlement reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that physicians fulfill their professional obligation to serve their patients’ health needs as well as appropriately bill government health care programs.”
Today’s settlement results from a coordinated effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, assisted by the Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Lindsay Saxe Griffin led the civil investigation.