SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Federal prosecutors say a central New York anesthesiology practice specializing in spine and back procedures will pay nearly $2 million to resolve claims that it improperly billed for services.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Syracuse says Tuesday that New York Spine and Wellness Center billed Medicare for moderate sedation services that require a physician to spend at least 16 minutes face-to-face with the patient.

Prosecutors say the practice, with three locations in the Syracuse area, routinely billed for the services when its doctors spent less that the required time with patients.

A private insurance company rejected two of the practice’s claims for moderate sedation services for not satisfying the 16-minute rule, but prosecutors say the business continued to bill for the services without meeting the time requirement.

The improper billing stopped after an investigation started.

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