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Stratford Doctor to Pay $700K for Alleged Nursing Home Scheme

Dr. James P. Ralabate entered into a civil agreement Thursday after allegations surfaced that the Stratford doctor and his company engaged in fraudulent billing at several nursing homes in Connecticut.

Updated 3:15 p.m.

The office of Dr. James P. Ralabate has issued a statement in response to the fraudulent billing allegations that resulted in the $700,000 civil settlement with the government.

The statement says, contrary to what the government alleged, Ralabate "never billed for services that were not provided."

And:"It was only when he later learned that the excellent level of care he provides to all his patients was found in a later audit to be beyond what Medicare pays for that he chose to settle the case -- rather than take time away from his patients and pay legal bills for a trial."

Click here to read the full statement.

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A Stratford doctor has agreed to pay $700,000 to resolve allegations that he and his business engaged in fraudulent billing at several nursing homes in the state.

Dr. James P. Ralabate, a physician, and his company, Primary Care Associates, located at 2890 Main St., Stratford, entered into the civil settlement with the government on Thursday.

"The allegations against Ralabate involved fraudulent billing to Medicare occurring over a five-year period for medical services provided at various nursing homes in Connecticut," states a release from the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

It continues, "The government alleges that Ralabate billed Medicare for high-level physician services when the services of a physician were not medically necessary. The medical records did not provide documentation necessary to meet the detailed history, examination or medical decision-making requirements necessary to justify the high level of physician care. At times, there was no medical record documenting Ralabate's visit.

"The government further alleges that Ralabate billed Medicare for services he supposedly provided to patients in nursing homes when the patients were, in fact, not present in the nursing homes. Instead, the patients had been transferred to local hospitals for treatment. Yet Ralabate billed government health care programs as if he had provided medical services in the nursing homes.

"To resolve their liability under the False Claims Act, Ralabate and his professional corporation will pay $700,000 in order to reimburse the Medicare programs for conduct occurring between January 1, 2006 and August 31, 2011."

U.S. Attorney David B. Fein said his office is committed to tracking down doctors and other health care providers who submit fraudulent claims to federal health care programs:

"Health care providers that overcharge Medicare drain critical funds from the Medicare program and increase health care costs...Providers who submit false claims to the government face serious monetary and administrative sanctions."

By entering into the settlement agreement, Ralabate and his company does not admit liability, according to the release.

Dmp@solonmack.com February 02, 2013 at 01:02 PM
I'm going to give Dr. Ralabate the benefit of the doubt in this case. He is by far the most caring and compassionate doctor I have ever known. He has been my doctor for 30 years (I'm 34). He did house calls for me after my back surgery when I was 18. He did house calls for both of my parents. I feel that he literally saved our lives on numerous occasions. He has been the doctor for my parents, my four brothers, my children and myself. He has been at the bedside of my parents in hospitals and nursing homes on numerous occasions. I am just learning of this case from this article and know nothing about it, but to see Dr. Ralabate cast in a negative light is truly saddening and I'm very shocked by the allegations and the settlement, but he has not admitted any wrongdoing and I don't think this is something he would be capable of.
bpiretti February 02, 2013 at 09:33 PM
I agree with all you said Dmp! Well said!
Maureen Mauro DeSantie February 04, 2013 at 05:15 AM
Dr. Ralabate is an extraordinary diagnostician. He is a compassionate, honest and approachable doctor. I feel blessed to have such a warm, caring and intelligent man as my Primary Care Physician. He is the best! At one point in the 20 years as a patient, i was employed with a company that had a terrible health insurance plan and Dr. Ralabate was not on their list of providers. He is so good that I chose to continue seeing him and paid for every visit for myself and my family out of pocket. Let me add that I was financially challenged during that period but chose to invest in our health as a top priority by remaining with Dr. Ralabate. He sincerely cares about his patients and is brilliant at diagnosing issues. I wish him the best and will continue with complete confidence in him.
Maureen Routhier February 04, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Dr. Ralabate took care of my children - he truly cares about his patients and their families. He is an extremely thorough doctor and his ethics are beyond reproach. This whole case appears to be based upon some clerical errors - doesn't appear due diligence was performed by David B. Fein's office.
George Costeines February 16, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Dr. Ralabate has cared for my children, my wife and myself for more than 25 years. We consider him to be one of the "best" physicians that has cared for and taken care of our medical needs. I find Dr. Ralabate to be honest, hard working and extremly caring of all his patients. In regard to any billing errors, understandably these type of errors occur from time to time, however, as a patient and knowing him for so many years, I believe any errors were unknown to him and as in any audit, often times discrepancies are found and require corrective action. That's what he did.

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