Santa Monica
LOOKOUT
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
(310)828-7525
2802 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
roque-mark.com

Home Special Reports Archive Links The City Commerce About Contacts Editor Send PR

Santa Monica Resident Charged with Alleged Involvement in Healthcare Fraud Schemes
 

Bob Kronovetrealty
We Love Property Management Headaches!

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

Santa Monica College logo. Link:http://www.smc.edu/Pages/default.aspx
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 434-4000

By Jorge Casuso

September 20, 2019 -- Santa Monica resident Sara Soultani was among 25 defendants charged for their alleged involvement in healthcare fraud schemes that sought more than $150 million in payments, federal prosecutors announced Friday.

Soulati -- who according to her website operates her Health For Life Program centers in Santa Monica and Inglewood -- was one of ten defendants charged in cases filed in Los Angeles Federal Court.

The alleged schemes billed Medicare and Medicaid programs, as well as private insurers and union health benefit plans, "for services, testing and prescriptions that were not medically necessary or not actually provided to beneficiaries," prosecutors said.

“Corruption drains dollars from private insurers and public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna.

Illustration of Enhanced External Counterpulsation, or EECP
Illustration courtesy of Blausen.com staff (2014)

“This office will continue to hold accountable anyone -- including medical professionals -- who seeks to bilk our nation’s health care system.”

Soulati was one of seven Los Angeles-area health care professionals charged for "their alleged participation in an approximately $135 million scheme to defraud Medicare through medically unnecessary cardiac treatments and testing through Global Cardio Care of Inglewood," prosecutors said.


Global Cardio Care®, Inc. was launched by Soultani in Inglewood in 2002 to provide Enhanced External Counterpulsation, or EECP, an FDA-approved procedure used to pump oxygen to the heart of those suffering from heart-related ailments.

"Sara launched Global Cardio Care®, Inc., in the heart of Inglewood/Los Angeles to bring EECP to everyone with a heart," according to sarasoultani.com.

"This community clinic was established to provide under-privileged people with direct access to alternative cardiovascular therapy and education about lifestyle modification to prevent, fight and reverse cardiovascular disease.

"When people visit the center, they enroll in the patent-pending Sara Soulati® Health For Life™ Program," the website states.

Scooter Safety Campaign

According to sarasoultani.com, "The physician practice, Global Cardio Care Centers, is the largest EECP clinic in the world with 22 EECP treatment beds.

"At Global Cardio Care Centers, more than 30,000 treatment hours of EECP are delivered annually," the website states.

According to the Stony Brook Heart Institute, which popularized the treatment, EECP therapy "increases the amount of blood returning to the heart, which helps supply more oxygen to its starved areas.

"EECP uses cuff-like devices on the upper and lower legs that increase the blood flow to the heart by timed squeezing with the heart cycle and rhythm," the site states.

Dr. Ronald S. Weaver, who managed the physician practice at Soulati's Santa Monica center was among the defendants charged in LA Federal Court.

Weaver and Soultani were featured in a 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation by the Wall Street Journal based on Medicare data the paper forced the government to release that had been kept secret for decades.

"Dr. Weaver's clinic administered EECP therapy to 99.5 percent of his Medicare patients -- 615 in all -- billing the federal health-insurance program for the elderly and disabled 16,619 times," the Journal wrote.

According Soultani's website, the facility Weaver administered, which opened "near Santa Monica" in 2012, has nine EECP treatment beds.

"Clients who visit this new center will be positively influenced by the power of EECP when combined with the patent-pending Sara Soultani Health For Life Program," the website states.

"This dynamic combination delivers a solution to disease prevention, anti-aging, rejuvenation, enhanced quality of life, and a reduction in inflammatory diseases."

According to the Wall Street Journal investigation, Soultani claimed in a speech at the City of Refuge Church in south Los Angeles that EECP "grows new arteries" and will "save your life."

Soultani then asked for the names and numbers of congregants interested in the treatment, according to the Journal, which reviewed emails that showed Soultani pushed staff to increase the number of patients visiting the clinic.

"A policy document from the clinic notes that 'it is so hard to get EECP covered through insurance,' advising employees to reassure patients that 'we are the experts at getting Medicare to pay when others wouldn't be able to,'" according to the Journal's investigation.

Soultani's website says the facility, which has nine EECP treatment beds, opened in 2012 "near Santa Monica," although other references on the site say it is located in the beach city.

"Clients who visit this new center will be positively influenced by the power of EECP when combined with the patent-pending Sara Soulati Health For Life Program," the website states.

"This dynamic combination delivers a solution to disease prevention, anti-aging, rejuvenation, enhanced quality of life, and a reduction in inflammatory diseases."

The criminal cases announced Friday were brought by the United States Attorney’s Office and prosecutors in the Health Care Fraud Unit of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section at the Justice Department.

The unit works with law enforcement partners under the aegis of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, according to prosecutors.

“Today’s action shows that our ability to detect and prosecute health care fraud grows more sophisticated with each passing day,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

“The Department of Justice is using every tool at our disposal to target the medical professionals and others who place their personal greed above the public good.”


Back to Lookout News copyrightCopyright 1999-2019 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights Reserved. EMAIL Disclosures