A physician slated to oversee medical studies of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a cannabis compound that could be beneficial in treating epileptic seizures and other health problems, is facing a federal False Claims Act complaint accusing him of overbilling Medicare.
Ogden, Utah’s Standard-Examiner reports that the False Claims Act lawsuit accuses Dr. Steven Warren of Bountiful, Utah, of improperly billing Medicare 80 times between February 2012 and July 2014 for visits to nursing home patients outside of Utah and receiving overpayments as a result.
Under the False Claims Act, health care providers that improperly bill Medicare and other government health care programs can be hit with civil penalties of $5,500 to $11,000 per false claim plus three times the amount of damages the federal government sustains because of the false claims.
According to the Standard-Examiner, Dr. Warren is listed on Endo-C’s website as the company’s primary investigator for its CBD oil study, while Chris Cannon, a former U.S. representative from Utah, serves as its chairman.
Endo-C “took root after state lawmakers approved House Bill 130 in March, legislation that Cannon, an attorney, helped craft. Sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw of Orem, HB 130 paved the way for CBD oil research to be conducted under the supervision of a doctor and an institutional review board,” the Standard-Examiner reported.
The False Claims Act case is stayed temporarily pending the resolution of Dr. Warrren’s bankruptcy filing, which he attributes to former partners who failed to meet their financial obligations.
“We’re waiting for full completion of that case to move forward,” Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the Utah District’s U.S. Attorney’s office, told the Standard-Examiner.