Chicago’s Sacred Heart Hospital Owner, Executive, and Four Doctors Arrested in Alleged Medicare Referral Kickback Conspiracy

CHICAGO—The owner and another senior executive of Sacred Heart Hospital and four physicians affiliated with the west side facility were arrested today for allegedly conspiring to pay and receive illegal kickbacks, including more than $225,000 in cash, along with other forms of payment, in exchange for the referral of patients insured by Medicare and Medicaid to the hospital, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Gary S. Shapiro.

Agents from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General today also began executing search and seizure warrants in connection with an ongoing investigation of alleged Medicare and Medicaid fraud schemes at the hospital involving emergency room evaluation, testing, and observation services that were not medically necessary, as well as medically unnecessary sedation, intubation, and tracheotomy procedures performed on patients. Approximately $2 million in Medicare reimbursement payments was seized today from various bank accounts.

Arrested were Edward J. Novak, 58, of Park Ridge, Sacred Heart’s owner and chief executive officer since the late 1990s; Roy M. Payawal, 64, of Burr Ridge, executive vice president and chief financial officer since the early 2000s; and Drs. Venkateswara R. “V.R.” Kuchipudi, 66, of Oak Brook, Percy Conrad May, Jr., 75, of Chicago, Subir Maitra, 73, of Chicago, and Shanin Moshiri, 57, of Chicago.

Sacred Heart Hospital is a 119-bed acute care facility located at 3240 West Franklin Blvd. in Chicago. Approximately 40 in-patients were in the hospital this morning, and representatives of the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) were on site and coordinating with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to ensure continuity of patient care.

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