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Other Government Health Programs

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to government healthcare programs other than Medicare and Medicaid, and fraud in those programs. You may also be interested in our pages:

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June 16, 2020

A doctor in Mississippi has been sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $5 million in restitution and judgment for committing healthcare fraud against multiple insurers, including TRICARE.  In exchange for a 35% cut of reimbursements, Dr. Shahjahan Sultan had agreed to enter into a contract with a local pharmacy to prescribe expensive compound medications to insured patients, which he did without regard to medical necessity, and which resulted in over $8 million in losses to insurers.  USAO SDMS

June 5, 2020

Alaska Neurology Center LLC and its owner, Franklin Ellenson, M.D., have agreed to pay $2 million and enter into a three-year Integrity Agreement to resolve allegations of submitting false claims to federal healthcare programs between 2013 to 2­018.  A whistleblower complaint revealed the defendants had engaged in a bevy of fraudulent billing schemes, including using false dates to bypass caps in reimbursement, billing for services provided by unqualified personnel, billing for non-reimbursable services, using multiple billing codes for procedures covered by a single code, using false names for providers, and resubmitting already rejected claims using false service or diagnosis information.  The whistleblower in this case will receive a relator’s share of $380,000.  USAO AK

April 15, 2020

A Florida-based reference laboratory, pain clinic, and two former executives have agreed to pay $41 million to settle claims of defrauding Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE, and other government health programs by billing for medically unnecessary urine drug tests between 2010 to 2017.  Led by Michael T. Doyle and Christopher Utz Toepke, the defendants allegedly had a policy of automatically ordering both presumptive and definitive urine drug tests for all patients at every visit regardless of need, with Toepke’s Tampa Pain Relief Centers Inc. performing all presumptive tests, and Doyle’s Logan Laboratories Inc. performing all definitive tests.  The alleged False Claims Act violations were eventually brought to light in two qui tam cases; the whistleblowers of those cases will split a relator’s share of approximately $7.79 million.  DOJ; EDPA; MDFL; FL

April 2, 2020

FPR Specialty Pharmacy LLC and Mead Square Pharmacy, Inc., along with owners Christopher Casey and William Rue, have agreed to pay $426,000 to settle a whistleblower-brought case alleging violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act in connection with a compounded prescription analgesic cream called Focused Pain Relief.  As part of the settlement, the defendants admitted that from 2011 to 2015, they sold prescription drugs to patients in states they were not licensed to sell in, failed to charge mandatory co-pays to beneficiaries of various federal healthcare programs, and paid sales agents to solicit physicians to prescribe the cream.  USAO SDNY

April 1, 2020

A physician’s assistant in Louisiana, Stephen Honeycutt, has agreed to pay $620,500 for accepting illegal kickbacks from OK Compounding, LLC, which has been involved in multiple enforcement actions of a similar nature across the country.  Over a period of about six months in 2013, Honeycutt prescribed expensive compounded pain creams to patients, many of whom were Medicare and TRICARE beneficiaries, in exchange for kickbacks disguised as medical director fees.  USAO NDOK

March 20, 2020

A doctor in Florida has paid the United States $850,000 to settle claims of violating the Anti-Kickback and False Claims Acts.  In exchange for prescribing a powerful but highly addictive fentanyl spray, Subsys, to her patients, Dr. Parveen Khanna allegedly took illegal kickbacks from manufacturer Insys Pharmaceuticals, Inc that were disguised as speaker fees, then submitted claims for reimbursement to Medicare and TRICARE in violation of program rules prohibiting payment for kickback-induced services.  USAO MDFL

March 2, 2020

The owners and operators of Middlesex Rheumatology in Connecticut, Dr. Crispin Abarientos and his wife Dr. Antonieta Abarientos, have agreed to pay $4.9 million to settle allegations of violating federal and state False Claims Act.  Between 2013 to 2017, the Abarientos allegedly billed Medicaid for an injectable prescription drug called Remicade, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but then failed to administer the drugs on Medicaid patients.  Instead, they administered them on patients covered by Medicare or the Connecticut State Employees Health Plan, then billed the two providers for the drugs again even though the cost had already been covered by Medicaid.  USAO CT

Catch of the Week — Colorado Neurosurgeon and His Three Companies Settle Spinal Implant Kickback Claims for $2.35M

Posted  02/14/20
skeleton of a spine
This edition of our Catch of the Week series features the successful resolution of a whistleblower suit against neurosurgeon Dr. William Choi and three companies he owned.  The defendants agreed to pay the United States $2.35 million to resolve allegations that, for over five years, Dr. Choi received illegal kickbacks from spinal implant device distributors for devices he used in surgeries. The kickbacks rendered...

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 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
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