UPDATE: Coal Grove Clinic Owners Stop Trial, Plead Guilty

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 8/8/14 @ 1:25 p.m.
CINCINNATI, Ohio (WSAZ) - Four people involved in the operation of Advanced Family Medical Center and Watkins-Tsai Imaging in Coal Grove, Ohio have pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Peter Tsai, 45, owner of Advanced Family Medical Center, his father and mother, Tahsiung Tsai, 73, and Ruey Tsai, 68, who owned Watkins-Tsai Imaging, and Peter Tsai’s cousin, Wei Lih Sheih, aka “Wendy”, 42, who worked for both clinics, entered the pleas in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati Thursday during the 4th day of their trial.

In the plea they admitted to improperly charge government insurance programs for medically unnecessary procedures’ between 2004 and 2013 when they were indicted.

Both clinics operated out of the same building in Coal Grove.

According to court documents, the conspirators performed numerous CT procedures that were unnecessary. For example, Peter Tsai diagnosed most of his patients with a condition called piriformis syndrome in order to give injections guided by his CT scan machine. The defendants also performed unnecessary diagnostic CT scans that were medically unnecessary, including multiple scans of the same body part for the same patient weeks apart.

They also performed and billed for CT scans for medically unnecessary injections of an osteoarthritis product, including injection into young adults without any proper diagnosis of osteoarthritis. One patient received 108 CT-related procedures in a 40-month period.

The defendants were also charged with fraudulently inflating their bills to Medicare and Medicaid. Peter Tsai illegally imported misbranded the drug, Synvisc, from other countries including Canada and Turkey, billed government insurance programs for the injections and transferred money into an account in a Canadian financial institution in order to buy the product.

Peter Tsai also pleaded guilty to one count of illegal importing of merchandise.

As part of the plea agreement, Ruey Tsai and Tahsiung Tsai also agreed to repay $999,000 in restitution.

In June 2011, 40 local, state and federal agencies raided the businesses.

At the time of the raid, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless told WSAZ.com he believed the clinic was responsible for more cat scans since 2008 than any other office in the nation.

Lawless also told WSAZ.com some patients have received 120 to 140 cat scans in a two-year time frame.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/5/14
CINCINNATI, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Opening statements are set to begin Tuesday for the owners and operators of two medical clinics in Lawrence County, Ohio, charged with federal health fraud.

In June 2011, 40 local, state and federal agencies raided Advance Family Medical Center and Watkins-Tsai Imaging Center in Coal Grove.

In June 2013, Peter Tsai, 44, his father, Tahsiumg Tsai,72, and mother, Ruey Tsai, 66, along with his cousin Wi Lih Sheih, aka “Wendy”, 41, were charged with conspiracy to improperly charge government insurance programs for medically unnecessary procedures.

Peter Tsai was also charged with health care fraud, smuggling and money laundering.

His parents were also charged with health care fraud.

The trial for the four began with jury selection Monday in U.S District Court in Cincinnati.

Prosecutors say Peter Tsai owned Advance Family Medical Center and his parents owned Watkins-Tsai Imaging. Sheih worked at both clinics.

At the time of the raid, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless told WSAZ.com that he believed the clinic was responsible for more cat scans since 2008 than any other office in the nation.

Lawless also told WSAZ.com that some patients have received 120 to 140 cat scans in a two-year time frame.

“The grand jury has charged them with performing diagnostic CT scans that were medically unnecessary, including multiple scans of the same body part for the same patient weeks apart,” said U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart at the time of the indictment.. “They are also charged with performing and billing for CT scans for medically unnecessary injections of an osteoarthritis product, Synvisc, in knees, including injection into young adults without any proper diagnosis of osteoarthritis.”

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/12/13
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Two people involved in a federal health fraud case have lost their medical licenses.

During a hearing this week, the Ohio Medical Board permanently suspended the licenses of Peter Tsai, MD, and Tahsiung Tsai, MD.

According to the Ohio Board of Medicine, the licenses were permanently revoked "in lieu of further disciplinary proceedings arising from recent indictment in the United States District Court on alleged charges including healthcare fraud, money laundering, smuggling, and conspiracy."

Peter and his father Tahsuing were indicted last month on federal health fraud charges.

In June 2011, 40 local, state and federal agencies raided Advance Family Medical Center and Watkins-Tsai Imaging Center in Coal Grove.

The two businesses are located just off US 52 at the Coal Grove exit along Marion Pike.

The two men, along with Peter Tsai's mother, Ruey Tsai, and his cousin, Wi Lih Sheih, aka “Wendy,” are accused of improperly charged government insurance programs for medically unnecessary procedures.

Peter Tsai and his parents were arrested last month morning and arraigned in U.S District Court in Cincinnati. The trio was released on recognizance bonds after surrendering their passports.



UPDATE 6/27/13 @ 1:30 p.m.
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio, (WSAZ) -- The owners and operators of two medical clinics in Lawrence County, Ohio have been indicted on federal health fraud charges.

In June 2011, 40 local, state and federal agencies raided Advance Family Medical Center and Watkins-Tsai Imaging Center in Coal Grove.

The two businesses are located just off US 52 at the Coal Grove exit on Marion Pike.

The four count indictment was unsealed Thursday and alleges that Peter Tsai, 44, his father, Tahsiumg Tsai,72, and mother, Ruey Tsai, 66, along with his cousin Wi Lih Sheih, aka “Wendy”, 41, improperly charged government insurance programs for medically unnecessary procedures.

Peter Tsai and his parents were arrested Thursday morning and arraigned in U.S District Court in Cincinnati. The trio was released on recognizance bonds after surrendering their passports.

Prosecutors say Peter Tsai owned Advance Family Medical Center and his parents owned Watkins-Tsai Imaging. Sheih worked at both clinics.

Prosecutors charged all four with conspiracy. Peter Tsai was also charged with health care fraud, smuggling and money laundering. His parents were also charged with health care fraud.

“The grand jury has charged them with performing diagnostic CT scans that were medically unnecessary, including multiple scans of the same body part for the same patient weeks apart,” said U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart. “They are also charged with performing and billing for CT scans for medically unnecessary injections of an osteoarthritis product, Synvisc, in knees, including injection into young adults without any proper diagnosis of osteoarthritis.”

The indictment also accuses them of of illegally importing adulterated Synvisc from other countries including Canada and Turkey and billing government insurance program for the injection and transferring money into an account in at a Canadian financial institution in order to buy the product.

At the time of the raid, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless told WSAZ.com that he believed the clinic was responsible for more cat scans since 2008 than any other office in the nation.

Lawless also told WSAZ.com that some patients have received 120 to 140 cat scans in a two-year time frame.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 6/22/11 @ 6:30 p.m.
COAL GROVE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Mass radiation poisoning is the overwhelming concern after a state and federal raid Wednesday on a local doctor and imaging center.

We’re talking about suspected medical insurance fraud on a grand scale -- linked to maybe thousands of unneeded CAT (CT) scans.

The raid Wednesday morning involved numerous agencies -- everybody from the local sheriff to the department of defense, because patients connected to the military are involved.

We’re told the raid on a Coal Grove medical center involves multi-millions in suspected Medicaid and Medicare fraud. And agents say much of the illegal billing came from a family of unethical doctors who blatantly disregarded human health.

“I got the injections and I got the scans, Betty York said.”

She is one of many patients across the Tri-State who see Dr. Peter Tsai at the Watkins-Tsai Medical Center.

We were asked not to show the more than 40 state and federal undercover agents collecting boxes and boxes of medical records.

Investigators say Dr. Peter Tsai examined his patients, then sent them across the hall to his parents’ CAT scan center.

And agents say all three fraudulently billed the government for millions.

“All patients of his had to have CAT scans, and they were either unneeded or unbilled procedures.”

Federal agents say since 2008 the small town medical center led the entire nation in billing for CAT scans -- more than the whole state of Florida.

And some patients were given an unheard of more than 100 CAT scans during a two-year period

”Some children had multiple scans," Lawless said. "We're scared that patients were abused."

York said, "I had CAT scans. It's scary, you don't know what's going to happen to you."

We talked to two prominent area doctors Wednesday. They told us someone with a serious medical condition would maybe get four CAT scans a year; 50 would be blatantly unethical.

The doctors told us that CT scans give off more radiation than X-rays, and excessive radiation can lead to numerous cancers.

There were no arrests made Wednesday. We are told agents have given the state medical board detailed information on this continuing investigation



ORIGINAL STORY 6/22/11
COAL GROVE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Two local business are currently being raided for what the investigators on the scene tell WSAZ.com is a multi-million dollar billing fraud investigation.

40 local, state and federal agencies are involved in a raid at Dr. Peter Tsai's Medical Office and the Watkins-Tsai Imaging Center in Coal Grove.

The two businesses are located just off US 52 at the Coal Grove exit on Marion Pike.

Investigators tell WSAZ.com this is a multi-million dollar state and federal billing fraud investigation.

Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless tells WSAZ.com that Dr. Peter Tsai's father, Dr. Thasiung Tsai, and mother, Ruey Tsai, own the imaging center next door to his office. He tells WSAZ.com that they are believed to be responsible for more cat scans since 2008 than any other office in the nation.

Lawless also tells WSAZ.com that some patients have received 120 to 140 cat scans in a two-year time frame.

We have a crew on the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 124353274 - wsaz.com/a?a=124353274