TEXARKANA, Texas – A Texarkana, Texas, physician has agreed to pay $118,000 to settle allegations of improper billing practices for his Medicare patients at his three clinics, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.
Dr. Donald S. Douglas, 50, operates clinics in Texarkana and New Boston, Texas. The United States’ allegations against Dr. Douglas are contained in a settlement agreement between the parties. According to the allegations, Dr. Douglas’ advanced practice nurses (sometimes referred to as APNs or mid-level practitioners) were hired to assist him with seeing patients in his clinics. Under Texas law, APNs may perform certain duties such as treating and diagnosing patients, performing exams, and other functions. If the services are provided with proper physician supervision, they may be billed to Medicare at the full physician rate. Without direct supervision, APNs may bill Medicare under their own identification number at a reduced rate. The United States alleged that Dr. Douglas billed Medicare for services provided by his APNs at the full physician rate even when a physician was not available to supervise the APNs’ services.