Attorney General Tong Announces $192K Settlement With Windham Eye Group
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong and acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut Leonard C. Boyle announced today a $192,699 joint state and federal settlement with the Windham Eye Group and its owners William Kaufold, MD and Dana Woods, MD resolving allegations that the Windham-based ophthalmological practice improperly employed an individual who was excluded from work with federal healthcare programs.
A joint state and federal investigation found Windham Eye Group employed Michael Vallone as its practice administrator between February 2010 and May 2021. Vallone had been excluded from all federal healthcare programs since 1993 due to a federal healthcare fraud conviction in New Jersey.
The Attorney General’s Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Section coordinated with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services and the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General to analyze data and develop the investigatory lead that resulted in today’s settlement. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General has previously advised healthcare providers to check the List of Excluded Individuals/Entities on the HHS-OIG web site (http://oig.hhs.gov/exclusions) prior to employing an individual in order to avoid liability.
“The List of Excluded Individuals exists to ensure individuals convicted of serious healthcare fraud are not entrusted with public healthcare programs in the future. It was the responsibility of this employer to check the federal list and ensure the employee was authorized to perform this work,” said Attorney General Tong.
Attorney General Tong thanked the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, the Department of Social Services, the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General/Office of Investigations, and the Office of the United States Attorney for their coordination in this matter.
Forensic Fraud Examiners Lisa Bailey and Peter Harrington and Assistant Attorney General Gregory K. O’Connell, under the supervision of the Chief of the Antitrust and Government Fraud Section Jeremy Pearlman, assisted the Attorney General with this matter.