A Springfield doctor who is the subject of a state and federal investigation into possible billing fraud has been suspended from submitting Medicaid claims.
Dr. Salim Dahdah, who owns and operates the Ohio Institute of Cardiac Care in Springfield, was suspended by the Ohio Department of Medicaid Feb. 4, according to a letter obtained by the Springfield News-Sun Friday.
“ODM has determined that a credible allegation of fraud exists based on evidence that you and OICC submitted claims for reimbursement for medically unnecessary nuclear medicine test(s),” the letter states. Nuclear medicine tests are common diagnostic tests which use a radioactive substance to take images of the body.
OICC’s West First Street office was searched by law enforcement officers Jan. 21, part of an investigation 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.
A spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Friday that the investigation is ongoing. No charges have been filed in federal or local courts.
In the meantime, the loss of Medicaid reimbursements and other changes at the practice have left some local patients scrambling to find new doctors.
“Here I am trying to get my diabetes regulated and I’m without a doctor,” said Liz Turner of Springfield.
Turner was informed by Springfield Regional Medical Center recently that a test she had scheduled for later this month would need to be re-ordered by a another doctor because of Dahdah’s Medicaid suspension.
When she called OICC in early March to speak with her primary care doctor Pamela Daufel, she was told Daufel had resigned from the practice. Daufel could not be reached for comment.
“It’s just been a big mess,” Turner said. She’s worried that even when she finds a new doctor she won’t be able to get her medical records from Dahdah’s office.
OICC has moved out of the office at 1416 W. First St. and is only seeing patients at its primary care offices, 1010 S. Limestone St.
The landlord of the West First Street location, CR Dayton VII LLC, sued to evict OICC last year, claiming it was owed more than $100,000 in unpaid rent from September 2013 through March 2014.
Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies met with both parties at the property Feb. 12 to oversee the eviction, but OICC’s attorney gave a check to the landlord at that time, Sheriff Gene Kelly said, and the court case has been closed.
OICC Office Manager Bob Armentrout said Friday the move had nothing to do with any rental dispute. Dahdah and his wife own the building on South Limestone Street.
Armentrout declined to comment on whether any doctors have left the practice and said it is “not true” that patients can’t access their medical records.
Several calls to Dahdah’s Beavercreek home have gone unanswered.
The Health and Human Services OIG also maintains a list of health care providers who are excluded from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and all other federal health care programs, but neither Dahdah or OICC were on it as of Friday.
Community Mercy Health Partners spokesman Dave Lamb said information about an individual physician’s privileges at Springfield Regional are confidential, but added that they are aware of the state’s Medicaid action.
“Naturally, the ability to treat Medicaid patients would have an impact on a provider’s activities at the hospital,” he said.
Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has been following the investigation into possible fraud at the Ohio Institute of Cardiac Care since news of a raid by state and federal agents first broke in January.