Updated: Gaithersburg Psychiatrist Agrees To Pay $400,000, Retire After Fraud Allegations

Settlement reached between physician and federal prosecutors

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Updated at 2:50 p.m. on Tuesday: A Gaithersburg psychiatrist has agreed to retire and pay $400,000 to settle federal claims he fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid for more than four years, federal prosecutors announced last week.

M. Wagdi Attia allegedly billed the federal health agencies for psychotherapy services that weren’t provided between January 2013 through May 2017, according to prosecutors.

A settlement agreement states Attia has retired from practicing medicine, has allowed his medical license to expire and has allowed his Medicare and Medicaid billing privileges to lapse. His former practice was at 604 S. Frederick Ave.

Attia’s attorney Joel Schwartz provided a statement regarding the settlement agreement:

“Dr. Attia served a community of patients suffering from severe mental health challenges with love and distinction for 25 years.

“While the psychiatric profession has abandoned the Medicare and Medicaid population in droves over the past decade due to an illogical and unnecessarily complicated billing system and historically low reimbursement rates, Dr. Attia stood by his patients and always put their care and well-being first. He deserves our thanks and highest regard.”

Prosecutors claim Attia charged Medicare and Medicaid for services requiring documented, direct interaction with patients, but his time-stamped medical records showed less than the required amount of face-to-face treatment, according to a news release.

The use of repetitive, common wording across medical charts and failure to reflect all elements of psychotherapy services in medical records caused investigators to question the treatment provided, the prosecutor’s office said.

The settlement agreement states the resolution is not an admission of guilt by Attia or a concession by the U.S. and Maryland that the claims aren’t well founded.

The terms were accepted “to avoid the delay, uncertainty, inconvenience, and expense of protracted litigation of the above claims,” according to the agreement.

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