Doc to Pay $3M to Settle False Billing Claims for TMS Services

Alicia Ault

March 09, 2023

A Houston psychiatrist has agreed to pay $3 million to settle with the federal government over claims that he and his companies billed Medicare for unnecessary transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) services.

TMS has been shown effective in treatment-resistant depression and has also demonstrated promise in treating alcohol and substance use disorders.

But the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas said that 61-year-old Ashok Jain, MD, pressured patients into having TMS treatments and that he falsified medical records and billed for services that were not provided or were "worthless."

Jain and his companies — Psychiatric Solutions PC, Longview Psychiatric Center PLLC and Longview Psychiatric Center LP — will pay to settle the government's claims, and are no longer in operation, said US Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani, in a statement.

"It is particularly egregious when those citizens who seek care are given unnecessary treatment and not the treatment that would benefit them," said Hamdani. "Providers who participate in federally funded programs like Medicare have a responsibility to the public to provide legitimate, safe care and treatment," he said.

The government investigation was sparked by a whistleblower lawsuit filed in 2021 by two employees at the Longview clinic. The workers alleged that Jain billed Medicare for TMS procedures that were either not performed or were done without a valid medical purpose. Jain's clinics also billed Medicare for physician assessments when the doctor did not see the patient or supervise the TMS session, according to the whistleblowers.

Those employees claim that Jain's fraudulent conduct continued until he sold his practice in April 2022.

Under the False Claims Act, the whistleblowers are entitled to a portion of the federal government's recovery from the defendant. In this case, each employee will receive $150,000, according to the US Attorney's Office.

Jain was licensed in Texas in 1996 and is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in psychiatry and forensic psychiatry. The Texas Medical Board currently lists no malpractice or disciplinary actions against Jain.

Alicia Ault is a Saint Petersburg, Florida-based freelance journalist whose work has appeared in publications including JAMA and Smithsonian.com. You can find her on Twitter @aliciaault.

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