Newly formed Super PAC defends Florida cardiologist facing federal fraud charges

One of the highest paid physicians in the country will get some financial support from a newly formed political action committee (PAC) aimed at defending the Florida cardiologist from allegations that he billed for unnecessary services and provided kickbacks to patients, according to the Ocala Star Banner.

In February, the Department of Justice intervened in two whistleblower lawsuits against Asad Qamar, claiming he regularly billed for procedures and tests that were medically unnecessary. In June, the Ocala Star Banner reported that he has been banned from Medicare since March. Payment data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid shows that Qamar was paid $34 million by Medicare in 2012 and 2013.

The Super PAC, known as Patient's Right to Excellent Medicine (PREM), was formed by former patients of Qamar who are "disgusted and distressed" by the portrayal of the physician by "money-hungry whistleblowers, members of the government with no practical knowledge of medicine, and a sensation-seeking media." PERM was formed by a retired college professor and former patient of Qamar, Harold Beck, who told USA Today that the group would "exert pressure on Medicare," but clarified that Qamar was not involved with the Super PAC.

"Who are they to determine whether my doctor is doing unnecessary treatments on me? He went to Yale. Where did they go?" he told the newspaper.

According to the organization's website, PERM will "campaign for fairness to doctors who are providing care to those of us covered by Medicare." Beck added that the organization will also contribute to political races.

For more:
- read the Ocala Star Banner article
- here's the USA Today article
- see PERM's website

Related articles:
Justice Department joins whistleblower suits against high-billing Florida cardiologist
Medicare's second-highest paid physician banned from billing the program
It's not perfect, but Medicare payment data a jumping-off point for fraud detection
Medicare doc data reveals million-dollar earners
Unnecessary procedures drive cardiology fraud investigations

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