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Anti-Kickback and Stark

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law.

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Catch of the Week – ResMed Pays $37.5 Million to Settle Five Qui Tam Cases Alleging Kickbacks

Posted  01/16/20
Pizza cut into wedges
Sleep apnea equipment manufacturer ResMed agreed to pay $37.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute by providing unlawful remuneration to durable medical equipment distributors, sleep labs, doctors, and other healthcare providers.  It seems that ResMed’s kickback schemes struck many people as wrong: the settlement resolves five separate cases brought by...

January 15, 2020

ResMed Corp. has agreed to pay $37.5 million to resolve five whistleblower-brought lawsuits alleging that the durable medical equipment (DME) manufacturer paid illegal kickbacks to suppliers, sleep labs, and other health providers, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act.  $6.2 million of the settlement will be split amongst the whistleblowers, who had revealed that ResMed improperly provided or helped provide free or below cost call center services, patient outreach services, medical equipment and installation, and interest-free loans, in exchange for business.  DOJ; USAO EDNY; USAO NDIA; USAO SC; USAO SDCA

January 10, 2020

The owner of two Philadelphia-based testing laboratories has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay more than $77 million in restitution for participating in an illegal kickback scheme.  At his plea hearing, Ravitej Reddy admitted that his laboratories, Personalized Genetics, LLC and Med Health Services Management, LP, participated in a fraudulent scheme that took advantage of the labs' location in a high reimbursement area for Medicare cancer and pharmacogenetic testing the labs actually sent for testing to a laboratory that was located outside of the lucrative coverage area, because the labs lacked equipment to perform the tests themselves.  To secure the lab orders, Reddy admitted paying kickbacks to co-conspirators, including marketers that solicited specimens from Medicare beneficiaries, and a telemedicine practice that improperly authorized the tests without regard to medical necessity.  In addition to the restitution order, Reddy faces a maximum of 25 years in prison at his sentencing in February.  USAO WDPA

Catch of the Week: Teva, A Pharmaceutical Company, Pays $54M to Settle Kickback Allegations

Posted  01/9/20
pill container spilled over with pills in the form of a dollar sign
A recent settlement between the Department of Justice and Teva, a pharmaceutical company, show how creative, and how hard to identify, kickbacks allegedly paid to physicians can be. The company has agreed to pay $54M to resolve claims when it violated the False Claims Act by paying kickbacks to doctors to boost sales of two of their drugs. Broadly speaking, the Anti-Kickback statute prohibits healthcare providers,...

January 6, 2020

A now defunct behavioral health clinic, Tree of Life, Inc., and its owners and operators, Ada and Victor Vidal, have agreed to pay $1.65 million to settle a whistleblower's claims that they violated the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute in claims to Pennsylvania's Medicaid program.  According to Erika Desjardins, the former Clinical Director, Tree of Life billed for therapy sessions where either the patient or therapist could not possibly have attended (in some cases due to a patient’s hospitalization or death), as well as therapy sessions provided by unqualified individuals.  To facilitate the fraud scheme, it created fake records, including forged signatures, and improperly paid a social worker for patient referrals.  As part of the settlement, the Vidals have been excluded from future participation in federal healthcare programs, and Desjardins, who had been fired for reporting internally, will receive $330,000 as their share of the recovery.  USAO EDPA

December 20, 2019

Florida residents and married couple Rodolfo Pichardo and Marta Pichardo were sentenced to 15 years and 8 years, respectively, following earlier guilty pleas to healthcare fraud and wire fraud.  Defendants were also ordered to pay over $34 million in restitution. The Pichardos ran a network of home health agencies, pharmacies, and therapy staffing companies, that submitted more than $38 million in false claims to Medicare.  Defendants paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and medical clinics for patient referrals.  USAO SD FL

December 19, 2019

Five individuals have been sentenced for their roles in a scheme to defraud TRICARE through the submission of false and fraudulent claims for compounded prescription pain creams.   Marketing firm Centurion Compounding, Inc., owned by  Frank Monte and Kimberley Anderson, entered into an agreement with LifeCare Pharmacy, owned by Carlos Mazariegos and Benjamin Nundy, to pay kickbacks to Dr. Anthony Baldizzi in exchange for him writing prescriptions for compounded creams marketed by Centurion to TRICARE beneficiaries. LifeCare billed health insurers, including TRICARE, more than $12.4 million for compounded cream prescriptions written by Baldizzi and marketed by Centurion, realizing a profit of more than $10 million, which it shared with Baldizzi, Monte, and Anderson.  Centurion also caused TRICARE to be billed additional fraudulent amounts through one or more other pharmacies.  Monte and Anderson of Centurion were sentenced to 2 years and 1.5 years, respectively, and Monte forfeited more than $3 million in property.  Baldizzi was sentenced to 1 year in prison, ordered to forfeit $100,000, and will surrender his license to practice medicine.  Mazariegos and Nundy of LifeCare were sentenced to 1 year in prison and 5 years probation, respectively, and paid over $12.8 million in restitution and forfeiture.  USAO MD FL

Sharp HealthCare — Medicare Fraud/Kickbacks (undisclosed settlement amount)

Three of our whistleblower attorneys represented a whistleblower in a qui tam action under the False Claims Act against Sharp HealthCare, a regional hospital system in San Diego.  Our client alleged that the Sharp Healthcare Center for Research, Sharp’s clinical-trial research arm, fraudulently billed government payers in violation of “secondary payer” rules that prohibit billing the government when other payers will pay for a patient’s care. Our whistleblower client also alleged that Sharp cultivated an illegal kickback scheme to entice prospective trial sponsors to host clinical trials at Sharp by regularly undervaluing Sharp’s costs involved in managing clinical trials.  By offering below-market value incentives and billing government and commercial insurers for injuries, the lawsuit alleged that Sharp sought to increase its attractiveness to trial sponsors. Sharp’s alleged purpose was to burnish the organization’s reputation and offer a lucrative stream of income for Sharp-affiliated physicians involved in clinical trials. Sharp settled the whistleblower’s case for an undisclosed amount.  Read more here.

November 26, 2019

Boston Heart Diagnostics Corporation will pay $26.7 million to resolve claims that it paid illegal kickbacks to physicians who referred laboratory tests to the company.  Boston Health provided laboratory testing to hospitals in Texas in exchange for per-test payments from the hospitals.  In order to secure more referrals from the hospitals' doctors for its testing services, Boston Health set up "management service organizations" which made payments to referring physicians.  Although these physician payments were disguised as investment returns, they were actually based on, and were provided in exchange for, the physicans' referrals.  In addition, Boston Heart was alleged to have provided other remuneration to referring physicians, including the provision of in-office dieticians, and to have waived patient co-payments and deductibles.  The settlement resolves two different cases brought by  whistleblowers, who will receive $4.36 million from the settlement.  DOJ
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