Attorney General Letitia James announced on August 1 that a medical doctor from Kings Point and his company (America’s Imaging Center, Inc.) are accused of unnecessary radiological testing and kickbacks to employees and defrauding Medicaid. The years-long scheme involved Payam Toobian bribing other physicians to give patients bogus referrals for Empire Imaging in Forest Hills, which America’s Imaging ran. Toobian and the company staff then subjected the patients to unnecessary procedures and tests and then billed Medicaid for the tests.
The scheme ran from January 2006 to August 2017, with Toobian allegedly giving cash, checks and gift cards totaling in excess of $547,000 to the three physicians. The referrals added up to more than $1 million in claims paid by Medicaid. Moreover, Toobian also directed staff at Empire Imaging to add unordered radiological procedures to the patients referred by the physicians, further increasing the billing to Medicaid.
Not only was Empire Imaging subjected the patients to unnecessary procedures, but the testing was often invasive without the consent, direction or approval of the patients. The tests included MRIs of the brain, cervical spine and lumbar spine. These were all done using “contrast,” which the staff administers with injections.
Separate lawsuit filed
The Office of Attorney General filed a separate civil lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York for damages from Toobian and America’s Imaging. The lawsuit claims that the defendants violated the Federal and New York State False Claim Act and other civil causes of action.
The OAG got help from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, New York State Department of Health, Office of the Inspector General, Medicaid MCOs, MetroPlusHealth, United Healthcare, and HealthFirst, which all cooperated with this investigation.
This firm has no involvement in this case.