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Doctors paid $500K because of alleged false Medicare claims

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that there was no admission of liability in the settlement agreement.

CAMBRIDGE, Ohio — Two psychiatrists with offices in the Ohio Valley recently agreed to pay more than $500,000 in U.S. District Court after submitting false Medicare claims.

According to information from the U.S. Attorney of Southern Ohio’s office, Drs. Ali and Imad Melhem allegedly submitted false Medicare claims between January 2013 and December 2019.

“The doctors are practicing psychiatrists with Neurobehavioral Medicine Consultants, PC, Inc., which provides mental health services and substance abuse treatments to patients in several states. Dr. Ali Melhelm is the owner of NMC. Both individuals served as treating psychiatrists at Cambridge Behavioral Hospital in Guernsey County. Ali Melhelm also served as the inpatient facility’s Medical Director,” according to the court.

Other alleged violations included admitting “medically ineligible patients to the hospital,” improperly delaying the discharge of patients, and billing for services and visits “that did not occur or were billed at a higher rate than was supported by the records.”

As part of the settlement, the Melhelms are required to pay $549,092 to the United States with $274,546 of that amount being restitution.

“I can confirm that we did receive payment,” said Jennifer Thornton, spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, on Thursday.

Neurobehavioral Medicine Consultants has offices in Bellaire, Cambridge, Steubenville and St. Clairsville.

Neither doctor could be reached for comment.

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