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May 10, 2021

The University of Miami, which operates multiple hospitals and other healthcare facilities, will pay $22 million to resolve claims arising from allegedly fraudulent billing submitted to federal healthcare programs for laboratory services.  The university was alleged to have billed certain laboratory tests as having been provided at hospital facilities instead of at physician offices, without satisfying the requirements for that more costly hospital facility billing, including notice requirements.  In addition, the university was alleged to have performed and billed for a pre-set panel of tests for all kidney transplant patients, although not all included tests were medically necessary.  Finally, the university and Jackson Memorial Hospital, which jointly operated the kidney transplant program, were alleged to have violated related party restrictions by billing for pre-transplant laboratory tests ordered by JMH from the university, and JMH will pay an additional $1.1 million to settle these allegations.  The settlement resolves claims made in three separate qui tam lawsuits; the whistleblower's share has not yet been determined.  DOJ; USAO SD FL

April 21, 2021

Tennessee-based Anesthesia Services Associates, PLLC d/b/a Comprehensive Pain Specialists (CPS) and its four majority owners have agreed to pay a total of $4.1 million to resolve allegations of violating the federal False Claims Act and Tennessee Medicaid False Claims Act.  According to the government, CPS billed Medicare and TennCare for medically unnecessary or non-reimbursable genetic tests, psychological tests, specimen validity tests, and urine drug tests, as well as medically unnecessary or non-reimbursable acupuncture.  For bringing a successful qui tam suit, the whistleblowers in this case will receive a relator’s share of over $610,000.  USAO MDTN

April 14, 2021

The owner of a Florida-based telemarketing call center, Ivan Andre Scott, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in connection with a $3.3 million fraud scheme against Medicare.  According to evidence presented at trial, Scott made telemarketing calls to Medicare beneficiaries to persuade them to take expensive genetic tests, paid illegal kickbacks to telemedicine companies in exchange for doctor authorizations, and received illegal kickbacks from laboratories in exchange for providing them with the genetic tests.  DOJ

March 26, 2021

Following two whistleblower complaints, a former owner of a now-defunct diagnostic testing laboratory in North Carolina and South Carolina has agreed to pay $2 million to resolve allegations of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act.  Together with other agents of Physicians Choice Laboratory Services (PCLS), Phillip McHugh allegedly offered and provided benefits to physicians in exchange for referrals of patient samples, causing false claims to be submitted to Medicare.  A second defendant in the case, former sales representative and manager Manoj Kumar, has already paid approximately $650,000 to resolve similar claims.  USAO WDNC

March 4, 2021

Alabama-based Heart Center Research, LLC has agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle allegations of receiving kickbacks from now-defunct Seattle-based medical testing company Natural Molecular Testing Corporation (NMTC) in exchange for referring patients for genetic testing.  In 2019, DOJ settled with three doctors and a medical practice also involved with the NMTC scheme, for $1.1 million.  USAO WDWA

January 11, 2021

California-based AutoGenomics, Inc. has agreed to pay over $2.5 million to settle allegations of submitting kickback-tainted claims to Medicare.  Between 2013 and 2015, AutoGenomics allegedly paid kickbacks to a healthcare marketing company for each genetic test performed by AutoGenomics’ former laboratory, PersonalizeDxLabs.  The kickbacks were only paid if the claims were reimbursed by Medicare.  Pursuant to the agreement, the company linked up with Prestige Administrative Services, LLC, which owns and operates residential nursing homes in multiple states, to identify and obtain samples from Prestige’s Medicare patients to send to PersonalizeDxLabs, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act.  USAO WDWI

January 6, 2021

Exceltox, a genetic testing laboratory in California, has agreed to pay $357,584 to resolve allegations of submitting false claims to Medicare over two months in 2015.  With the help of a New Jersey-based contractor named Seth Rehfuss, Exceltox allegedly performed genetic tests on seniors in New Jersey-based senior housing complexes without proper orders from a treating physician, then submitted claims to Medicare for these tests.  For his role in the fraud, Rehfuss was sentenced to over 4 years in prison in 2019.  USAO NJ

October 2, 2020

Pharmatech, Inc. and its CEO and founder Tuan Pham will pay over $3 million to settle allegations in a case initiated as a qui tam action under the False Claims Act.  The government alleged that defendants violated the Anti-Kickback Statute by paying a medical clinic, Imperial Valley Wellness, a per-specimen fee to induce it to refer orders for laboratory drug-testing to Phamatech which were subsequently billed to Medicare.  Many of the tests were also alleged to be not medically necessary. The whistleblower, former Pharmatech employee John Polanco, will receive over $500,000 from the settlement.  USAO SD Cal.

September 22, 2020

New Jersey biotechnology company Bio-Reference Laboratories, Inc., will pay $11.5 million to resolve two actions brought by whistleblowers alleging that defendant violated the Anti-Kickback statute by paying unlawful remuneration to physicians based on the volume of those doctors’ referrals to defendant.  The remuneration took the form of payments for a percentage of the cost of electronic medical records software used by the doctors.  In addition, defendant was alleged to have unlawfully billed Medicare and Tricare for testing performed on hospital inpatients, instead of billing the hospitals themselves.  USAO SDNY
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