Both Ohio Institute of Cardiac Care Springfield locations were open for business Thursday, one day after federal and state agents raided the clinic’s West First Street office.
Authorities confirmed that an investigation is ongoing involving the Ohio Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud section, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General, but they gave no further details Thursday.
The Springfield News-Sun found that OICC and Dr. Salim Dahdah, who according to state records operates the clinics, have been in court with the landlord of the West First Street office over more than $100,000 in unpaid rent since April.
The owner of the shopping center, CR Dayton VII LLC, issued the clinic an order to vacate the premises and claims the cardiac center didn’t pay rent from September 2013 through March 2014.
A move-out date was set for Oct. 30, but Judge Douglas Rastatter granted a temporary stay of the eviction while OICC argued its case.
The most recent filing in the case came from the landlord’s lawyers on Dec. 22, asking the judge to move forward and set a new date for eviction.
Dahdah couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday. A woman who answered the phone at his Beavercreek residence said he had no comment and hung up.
Staff members at both Springfield offices declined to comment on the investigation Thursday.
Many current and former patients had strong reactions to news of the investigation Thursday, some praising Dahdah and some complaining of problems with the business.
“He has cared for members of my family for over 30 years,” said Toni Engle on WHIO’s Facebook page. “He has improved the lives and health of thousands of people … if any of this happened, I strongly doubt he was involved.”
Michelle Ragland of Springfield described her reaction as surprised. Lots of people speak highly of Dahdah, she said, and she’s always been treated well at his office.
Like many other current patients, she called the office Thursday to make sure her upcoming appointment was still scheduled.
“I would have never suspected anything like that,” she said.
Former employee LeeAnne Burroughs, a medical assistant who left the practice seven months ago, also said Dahdah is a dedicated doctor.
“He works from sun up to sun down,” she said, sometimes not leaving until 10:30 p.m. “I just really don’t think he knows what’s going on behind closed doors.”
Some patients complained of tests and appointments they believed were unnecessary, and possibly done to bill extra hours.
“Pulled my mom out of there recently,” said Karen Kahler Castle on Facebook. “She was always having a test … Somehow I knew someone was up to no good.”
A former patient who had open heart surgery with Dahdah in 2005 said she also questioned the number of appointments.
“I’d be there 10 to 15 minutes and they’d just schedule me another appointment,” said Melody Shepherd, who now lives in Portsmouth, Ohio. “I believe it was because of my Medicaid card.”