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December 15, 2021

David Bellamah, and his business, Bellamah Vein & Surgery, PLLC, will pay $3.75 million to resolve allegations that they billed government healthcare programs for medically unnecessary venous procedures based on false medical records.  Defendants allegedly used improper techniques to conduct and analyze ultrasounds and used false ultrasound findings to diagnoses and treat venous reflux disease and varicose veins. The government’s claims were initiated by the filing a qui tam complaint by Lenore Lezanne, who previously worked as a sonographer at the Bellamah Vein Center; Lezane will receive a whistleblower award of 17% of the amounts recovered.  USAO MT

December 8, 2021

Pharmacist Riad “Ray” Zahr and two pharmacies he owned and operated, Plymouth Towne Care Pharmacy Inc. and Shaska Pharmacy LLC will pay $1 million to resolve a lawsuit initiated by a whistleblower alleging that the pharmacies submitted false claims for Evzio, a naloxone hydrochloride product used for the rapid reversal of an opioid overdose.  The government alleged that the claims included false and misleading prior authorization requests, including forged physician authorizations.  In addition, defendants dispensed Evzio without collecting or attempting to collect co-payments. DOJ; USAO MA

November 23, 2021

A number of related entities operating in Ohio and Tennessee as Crossroads Hospice have agreed to pay $5.5 million to resolve allegations that they submitted false claims for hospice services that were not covered by Medicare.  Specifically, the government alleged that over a period of three years, Crossroads submitted claims for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients who were not terminally ill for at least a portion of the more than three years that the patients received care.  Two qui tam actions were filed regarding the false claims; the three individuals who jointly filed the first action, Leanne Malone, Jackie Burns and Angela Heck, were previously employees of Crossroads, and will receive approximately $1.045 millionDOJ

November 22, 2021

Home health provider PruittHealth, Inc. has agreed to pay $4.2 million to resolve allegations that they knowingly submitted false claims for services that were not eligible for reimbursement because, among other things, they did not have the required face-to-face certifications or plans of care, and they did not document the beneficiary’s homebound status or need for the home health services.  Tina Peery, who initiated the government action by filing a qui tam complaint, will receive an award of $700,000USAO ND Ga

November 22, 2021

South Carolina chiropractor Daniel McCollum has consented to judgment of $9 million to resolve charges that he submitted false claims to federal healthcare programs in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law.  McCollum admitted that his laboratory, Labsource (which was a party to a related action), gave referring providers an opportunity to earn revenue generated from their commercially-insured referrals for urine drug testing as an inducement for those providers to refer all of their federally-insured urine drug testing patients to Labsource.  McCollum also caused medically unnecessary prescriptions for pain creams often without the knowledge or approval of the patients’ healthcare providers.  In addition to the civil settlement, McCollum pleaded guilty to criminal kickback and healthcare fraud charges and will be sentenced at a later date.  DOJ; USAO SC

October 22, 2021

Texas doctors Robert Wills and Brannon Frank, who previously operated Austin Pain Associates, will pay $3.9 million to resolve allegations that they billed federal and state healthcare programs for medically unnecessary urine drug tests that were performed at Austin Pain Associates’ in-house lab.  The investigation was initiated after a whistleblower complaint was filed by former Austin Pain Associates employees Jennifer Nuessner and Robert Hoffman; they will receive approximately $618,000 from the federal share of the settlements. DOJ

October 20, 2021

South Carolina provider Colonial Family Practice, LLC, has agreed to pay $1.25 million to resolve claims that they submitted false claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE for medically unnecessary nuclear stress tests and Cystatin-C tests, the latter of which were routinely submitted as part of a panel run on most patients, despite being payable for only a narrow set of patients.  The settlements resolve two qui tam actions brought by a former clinical manager and by a former physician assistant.  USAO SC

October 20, 2021

MD Spine Solutions LLC, d/b/a MD Labs Inc., and its owners, co-founders Denis Grizelj and Matthew Rutledge, have agreed to pay up to $16 million to settle fraud allegations raised by an unnamed whistleblower.  MD Labs had allegedly billed Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal healthcare programs for presumptive urine drug testing as well as confirmatory urine drug testing run on the same samples, which is frequently baseless or useless.  USAO MA

October 8, 2021

U.S. Medical Management, LLC (USMM) and VPA, P.C. (VPA) have agreed to pay $8.5 million to resolve claims raised in five separate qui tam lawsuits that USMM and VPA billed Medicare for medically unnecessary laboratory and diagnostic testing services between 2010 and 2015.  Although the government did not join any of the lawsuits, the whistleblower who filed first will receive $1.53 million under the alternate remedy provision of the False Claims Act.  USAO EDMI

September 15, 2021

A cardiologist in Florida who allegedly billed Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary procedures has agreed to pay $6.75 million to resolve claims under the False Claims Act.  Between 2013 and 2019, Dr. Ashish Pal allegedly made misrepresentations in patient medical records to justify ablations and vein stent procedures that were not reimbursable under program rules.  Additionally, some of the procedures were later found to have been performed primarily by unqualified ultrasound technicians.  As part of the settlement, Pal and Interventional Cardiology & Vascular Consultants, PLC, will enter in a multiyear integrity agreement and comply with training and reporting requirements, as well as a quarterly claims review by an independent organization.  USAO MDFL
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