Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced a $7.62 million settlement with California-based DJO Global Inc. to resolve allegations that a DJO subsidiary falsely billed TRICARE for excessive and unnecessary supplies. The government alleged that the DJO subsidiary used an improper “assumptive selling” technique to induce TRICARE beneficiaries to order supplies that they did not use or need.
The allegations center on transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) electrodes used to transmit low-voltage electrical currents for pain relief. According to DOJ’s press release, the “assumptive selling” technique allegedly involved sales representatives inducing TRICARE beneficiaries to purchase unnecessary TENS electrodes “by acting as though the beneficiaries had indicated a need for them, when that may not have been the case.” TRICARE provides civilian health benefits to armed forces personnel and retirees, as well as their dependents.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota’s Civil Frauds Unit, the Justice Department’s Commercial Litigation Branch, and the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General. DJO did not admit liability as part of the settlement.
“This $7.6 million settlement underscores our commitment to protecting the integrity of federal health care programs and it sends a strong message of accountability to those who would seek to take advantage of those programs,” said United States Attorney Gregory G. Brooker. “This settlement demonstrates the commitment of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), along with our law enforcement partners, to aggressively pursue the waste, fraud, and abuse of Department of Defense and TRICARE resources,” added Special Agent in Charge Michael Mentavlos of the DCIS Southwest Field Office.
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