North Country doctor’s practice to pay $850,000 after overcharging for drugs, medical care –

A Watertown medical practice has admitted it overcharged Medicare for drugs and medical services.File photo
Syracuse, NY – A Watertown medical practice has agreed to pay $850,000 after admitting it improperly billed the federal government for the drug Botox and for services provided by physician assistants.
North Country Neurology, a doctor-owned practice, admitted it billed the federal Medicare insurance program for the drug Botox 761 times between 2015 and 2021 even though the drug had already been paid for by other insurers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Neurologists use Botox to treat migraine headaches and other conditions.
The practice also admitted it overcharged Medicare for services provided by a physician assistant. The practice billed Medicare at a higher rate only allowed if the physician assistant is directly supervised by a doctor.
Between 2015 and 2019 the practice billed Medicare at the higher rate 120 times when there was no doctor in the office available to provide supervision. Medicare pays less for services provided by an unsupervised physician assistant.
“The integrity of our federal health care system depends on accurate and honest billing by medical providers,” said U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman.
She commended the practice for admitting to the improper billing practices and taking steps to correct them.
Freedman’s office said North Country Neurology acknowledged it “had an insufficient compliance program and one that was not well-suited to identify fraud, waste and abuse.”
After learning it was being investigated by federal officials, the practice hired a consultant to help it correct its billing practices.
The investigation was coordinated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
James T. Mulder covers health. Have a news tip? Contact him at (315) 470-2245 or
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