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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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February 14, 2020

Tennessee-based Cookeville Regional Medical Center Authority (CRMC) has agreed to pay $4.1 million to settle allegations of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark Law, and False Claims Act from 2012 to 2017.  In a qui tam suit that initiated the investigation, an unnamed whistleblower alleged that CRMC submitted claims to Medicare and TennCare that arose from improper financial arrangements with physicians at its wholly owned subsidiary, CRMC MSO-Sub 1, Inc., d/b/a Tennessee Heart.  $3.6 million of the settlement proceeds will go to the United States, $453,000 will go to the State of Tennessee, and $779,000 will go to the whistleblower.  USAO MDTN

February 12, 2020

A neurosurgeon accused of receiving illegal kickbacks from distributors of spinal implant devices has agreed to pay $2.35 million to resolve allegations of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act.  While practicing at three Colorado area hospitals, Dr. William Choi created distributorships Nexus Spine, LLC and 4D Spine, LLC to provide spinal implant equipment for surgeries he performed.  Despite naming third parties as the registered owners, Dr. Choi maintained control of the distributorships and their profits, thus soliciting and receiving improper payments from these entities.  His fraudulent conduct was eventually revealed by a former 4D employee, Mark Rahe, who filed the civil action.  USAO CO

February 6, 2020

A patient recruiter in Kentucky has been sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to pay or forfeit over $1.2 million in total for accepting more than $1 million in kickbacks from home health agencies in exchange for providing information about Medicare beneficiaries.  The owner of Trumbo Consulting Agency in Virginia, Dominic Trumbo recruited and paid others to recruit over 4,000 Medicare beneficiaries for home health services by offering incentives to get them to sign up.  Trumbo then sold the information to home health agencies around the country in exchange for kickbacks, then created fake contracts and invoices to conceal the fraud from Medicare.  DOJ

February 3, 2020

Senthil Kumar Ramamurthy of Texas has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for participating in two fraud schemes that amounted to $9.6 million in losses by Medicare and TRICARE.  In the first scheme, which ran for 10 months in 2014, Ramamurthy and his co-conspirators were paid millions of dollars by compounding pharmacies to get TRICARE beneficiaries to sign up for medically unnecessary compounded prescription drugs.  To get beneficiaries to sign up, defendants had falsely represented that the drugs would be free, when in fact co-payments were required.  In the second scheme, which ran from 2015 onward, Ramamurthy and his co-conspirators paid doctors to refer Medicare beneficiaries—without first examining them—for needless genetic cancer screening tests.  Many of Ramamurthy's co-conspirators have plead guilty and face sentencing later this month.  USAO SDFL

Opioid Executive Sentenced to Over Five Years in Prison for Role in Healthcare Fraud Scheme

Posted  01/31/20
opioid pills scattered around
Insys Therapeutics, an opioid manufacturer whose main product is Subsys, a spray from of fentanyl that is 100 times stronger than morphine and cost tens of thousands a month, is in the news again. The company and its former CEO, John Kapoor, have been facing a mountain of legal issues in the past three years. Last week, in a decision that most of our readers agree with, Kapoor was sentenced to 66 months in prison. 

Catch of the Week: Practice Fusion Pays $145 Million for EHR Kickbacks and Misrepresentations about Software

Posted  01/28/20
Healthcare providers talk about the importance of behavioral “nudges” – gentle pushes to encourage healthy choices and positive behaviors. In our Catch of the Week, healthcare providers were nudged to prescribe highly addictive extended-release opioids in a manner that was not consistent with accepted medical standards. Who nudged them? Their own electronic health records system, which was paid to do so by the...

January 27, 2020

Practice Fusion, Inc., a provider of electronic health records systems, will pay $145 million to resolve criminal and civil charges that it accepted unlawful kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies and misrepresented the capabilities of its EHR software.  As part of the settlement, the defendant entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, paying $26 million in criminal fines and forfeitures, agreeing to compliance policies and monitoring, and admitting that it accepted payment from an unnamed opioid manufacturer in exchange for including "clinical decision support" alerts within its EHR system that were designed to increase prescriptions for the pharma company's drugs.  The civil settlement – $119 million for the federal government and up to an additional $5.2 million for states that choose to opt in – resolves the kickback allegations related to the opioid manufacturer and 13 other such arrangements, as well as allegations that Practice Fusion knowingly misrepresented the capabilities of its EHR system in order to secure federal certification for the software and secure eligibility for federal incentive payments for providers adopting its software.  DOJ; USAO VT

Top Ten Healthcare Fraud Recoveries of 2019

Posted  01/24/20
Consistent with the trend in prior years, the bulk of the Justice Department’s fraud and false claims recoveries in 2019 stemmed from healthcare fraud matters.  And again, most of the funds recovered arose from cases originated by whistleblowers under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  Not surprisingly, seven of the top ten spots in our list involved false claims act lawsuits against drug companies...

Top Ten Financial and Healthcare Fraud Prison Sentences of 2019

Posted  01/23/20
Prison tower and fence silhouetted against sky
Financial and healthcare fraud schemes can result not just in civil investigations and liability, but also in prison time for the individuals involved.  In 2019, the Department of Justice obtained substantial prison sentences in numerous cases involving healthcare and financial frauds, helping to bring justice to the patients, investors, or individuals harmed by criminal fraudsters.  Many of the fraudulent...

January 23, 2020

Arch Health Partners, Inc. has agreed to pay $2.9 million to resolve fraud allegations brought by a former employee turned whistleblower, Catherine Jones.  Jones alleged in a qui tam suit that the San Diego-based healthcare provider had falsely billed Medicare for evaluation and management services that lacked sufficient documentation, in violation of the False Claims Act.  Based on self-disclosures by Arch Health, the United States also alleged that referring physicians were being compensated above fair market value, in violation of the Anti-Kickback and Stark Acts.  Jones will receive $183,830 of the settlement proceeds.  USAO SDCA
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