Embattled cardiologist Dr. Asad Qamar skipped his own press conference Monday afternoon at his Ocala Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence clinic.
Instead, about 15 of the cardiologist’s clinical staff and a longtime loyal patient spoke on behalf of the doctor who had to tend to an emergency case with a patient in the catherization lab.
Longtime patient Dr. Harold Thomas Beck, who is also head of a political action committee supporting Dr. Qamar called Patient’s Right to Medical Excellence, made the announcement at ICE’s conference room.
On behalf of the staff and patients, Beck said the cardiologist is filing a lawsuit against the two whistleblowers and a third party contractor who investigated Dr. Qamar’s work.
The U.S. Justice Department teamed up with a pair of whistleblowers to file a civil lawsuit against the cardiologist in 2015 for allegedly defrauding Medicare and performing unnecessary medical procedures on patients.
The fraud that the whistleblowers were accusing Qamar of, Beck claimed, stemmed from “their incompetence and misunderstanding.”
According to Qamar and his team, the third party contractor, SafeGuard Services (SGS), consisted of “grossly under qualified” members after conducting their own investigations into the private contractor.
“Most of them [contractor workers] don’t even have LPN’s. The first time that they’ve ever seen a medical bill is when they went to work for this company. And this is the company that is leveling a lot of the charges against Dr. Qamar,” Beck said.
Qamar, backed by the support of his staff and patients, refused to sign a governmental ultimatum that was due at 4 p.m. The government agreement called for Qamar to voluntarily leave Medicare and forfeit $5.3 million in escrow.
“We feel that signing something is an admission of guilt,” clinical supervisor Diana Hunt said.
She later explained that the doctor was trying to negotiate with his lawyer for an extension for the agreement, even though “he is guilty of nothing.” During the extension period, Hunt and her co-workers who stand behind Qamar plan to take turns protesting while at the same time taking care of patients.
“We have a renowned lawyer from California who is going to handle this case for us. And he’s going to demand a congressional investigation,” said Dr. Beck. The lawyer is Richard Fine.
Qamar, who has practices in Ocala, Summerfield, and The Villages, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April in an attempt to continue to work despite the plague of lawsuits, Medicare ban, and investigations conducted on his medical group.
“I’m able to stand today because of Dr. Qamar,” said his longtime patient. He continued to praise the cardiologist for his services to the community.
Beck further explained his suspicion with the whole litigation.
“I think that Medicare is trying to punish the people that are helping people. They’d rather see the Medicare patients, the baby boom generation, die off so they don’t have to pay us,” he said.