Jose Katz, a 68-year-old cardiologist with offices in New York and New Jersey, has pleaded guilty to charges that he committed health care fraud, the US Attorney for New Jersey announced yesterday. Katz admitted that he billed Medicare Part B, Medicaid, and numerous private insurers “for unnecessary tests and unnecessary procedures based on false diagnoses and for medical services rendered by unlicensed practitioners.”
Katz spent over $6 million advertising on Spanish-language advertising. For most of his patients he performed the same battery of unnecessary diagnostic tests and falsified records. He then gave a false diagnosis or coronary artery disease and intractable angina and prescribed EECP (enhanced external counterpulsation) to these patients. According to the government, Katz billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $15.6 million for EECP treatment from 2005 through 2012. In total, Katz billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $70 million during this period.
Some of Katz’s patients were treated by Mario Roncal, who was called “Dr. Roncal” in the office, though he did not have a valid medical license in the United States. According to the government, “to conceal this illegal and unlicensed practice of medicine, Roncal forged Katz’s signature on paperwork associated with Roncal’s unlawful medical services, including on patient charts. During the conspiracy, Katz used his own billing numbers to bill Medicare Part B and Medicaid for the illegal services Roncal provided as though they were provided by Katz.”