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January 5, 2022

Two Florida men, Reinier Gonzalez Caballero and Alexeis Napoles Manresa, have each been sentenced to a little over four years in prison for laundering the ill-gotten proceeds of a $3 million healthcare fraud scheme against Medicare.  Over a couple months in 2019, durable medical equipment company Universal Ortho Supplies, Inc. billed Medicare for orthosis and prosthetics that were never prescribed by physicians, nor provided to patients.  The reimbursements were then turned over to the defendants, who attempted to disguise the source of the funds by setting up shell corporations and opening up fake bank accounts.  Two co-conspirators have already been convicted and sentenced; another two have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.  USAO SDFL

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 13, 2021

Kevin Cooper, M.D. and his practice, Cooper Family Medical Center, will pay $375,000 to resolve allegations that they fraudulently billed Medicare of non-reimbursable acupuncture devices by using billing codes for surgically implanted devices for the provision of P-Stim electro-acupuncture devices that are affixed behind a patient’s ear using an adhesive.  USAO SD MI

December 8, 2021

The owner and medical director of Georgia’s Milton Hall Surgical Associates, Jeffrey M. Gallups, will pay $3 million, and medical device manufacturer Entellus Medical will pay $1.2 million, to resolve claims that they entered into an unlawful kickback arrangement.  The government alleged that Gallups received cash payments and all-expense paid trips from Entellus in return for directing MHSA physicians to utilize sinuplasty related medical devices exclusively from Entellus and increase the number of sinuplasty procedures performed.  In addition, Gallups was alleged to have received “commissions” from medical testing laboratory NextHealth, in exchange for directing MHSA doctors to order medically unnecessary toxicology and genetic tests from NextHealth.  The settlement resolves a qui tam action initiated by former MHSA physician Myron Jones, M.D., who will receive approximately $614,000 from the settlement.  USAO ND GA

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

December 7, 2021

Vyera Pharmaceuticals, LLC and its parent company Phoenixus AG will pay up to $40 million and have agreed to make its drug Daraprim available to any potential generic competitor at list price to resolve claims of anticompetitive conduct.  The federal government and state governments alleged that Vyera principals Martin Shkreli and Kevin Mulleady enacted a plan to acquire life-saving toxoplasmosis drug, Daraprim, and dramatically raise its list price by 400% while engaging in conduct to prevent generic competition and protect their monopolistic pricing.  The resolution also bars Mulleady from working in the pharmaceutical industry for seven years; claims against Shkreli are continuing.  FTC; CA; NY; NC; VA

December 7, 2021

New Jersey-based Princeton Pathology Services P.A. will pay $2.4 million to resolve allegations that it overbilled Medicare by submitting claims using a Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code that required written analysis by a pathologist, when no such analysis was required or had been prepared.  A whistleblower, Jayant Barai, M.D., initiated the matter by filing a qui tam complaint under the False Claims Act, and will receive an award of $456,000USAO NJ

December 6, 2021

Pharmacy benefit manager Centene Corp. will pay $27.6 million to the State of Kansas to resolve allegations that it failed to satisfy its obligation to represent the state’s best interests in negotiations with companies that supply drugs to the state Medicaid program, failed to accurately report discounts it received from CVS-Caremark on certain retail pharmacy claims, and artificially inflated dispensing-fee amounts reported to state regulators.  The state alleged that Centene used an opaque reporting system that made it difficult for the state to determine the nature and appropriateness of certain pharmacy transactions.  As part of the settlement, Centene also agreed to change certain business practices to ensure greater transparency.  KS

December 2, 2021

Texas-based Flower Mound Hospital Partners LLC has agreed to pay $18 million and enter into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement to resolve fraud allegations.  According to Leslie Jennings, M.D., one of many physician-owners, when Flower Mound repurchased shares from physician-owners nearing retirement age and resold them to younger physicians, the company allegedly improperly took into account the value of each physician’s referrals in selecting to whom and how many shares would be resold.  Claims arising from these referrals were then knowingly submitted to Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute, Physician Self-Referral Law, and False Claims Act.  For initiating a lawsuit that resulted in a successful enforcement action, Jennings will receive a $3 million share of the settlement.  DOJ

December 1, 2021

A collection of hospices known as Crossroads Hospice has agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle allegations raised in two qui tam suits by former employees Leanne Malone, Jackie Burns, and Angela Heck, and a home health physician in Tennessee, Dr. David Weber.  In their lawsuits, the whistleblowers alleged that between 2012 and 2014, Crossroads billed Medicare for hospice care for patients who were not terminally ill, including patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia.  Malone, Burns, and Heck will divide a million-dollar relator’s share.  USAO WDTN
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