21st Century Oncology, a Florida-based provider of integrated cancer care services, agreed to pay $19.75 million to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act by billing federal health care programs for laboratory tests that were not medically necessary. The tests involved were fluorescence in situ hybridization (or “FISH”) tests which are laboratory tests performed on urine that can detect genetic abnormalities associated with bladder cancer. The government alleged that 21st Century submitted claims for unnecessary FISH tests that were ordered by four of its urologists, Dr. Meir Daller, Dr. Steven Paletsky, Dr. David Spellberg and Dr. Robert Scappa. The government further alleged the company encouraged these physicians to order unnecessary FISH tests by offering bonuses that were based in part on the number of tests referred to 21st Century’s laboratory. The allegations first arose in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former 21st Century medical assistant under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The whistleblower will receive a whistleblower award of $3.2 million from the proceeds of the government’s recovery. DOJ
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