Whistleblower Law Blog
Topic: Stark Act
A federal judge held that physicians violated the False Claims Act when they made referrals to a hospital that used a radiation imaging company in which the doctors had financial interests.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said it obtained a $1.3 million settlement of allegations that a cardiology practice violated the False Claims Act and the Stark Act by knowingly compensating its physicians based on the number of tests that the physicians referred.
The Stark Act prohibits a physician from referring Medicare patients for designated health services to an entity with which the physician has a financial relationship (unless an exception applies). The Stark Act does not permit a practice to compensate a physician based directly on the volume or value of the physician’s referrals for services not personally performed by the ordering physician.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced settlements with several healthcare companies accused of fraud — including a massive $150 million deal with Amedisys Inc. in which the government resolved seven lawsuits with the giant homecare provider, leading to more than $26 million in payouts to whistleblowers and a jackpot for U.S. taxpayers.
The largest whistleblower reward, more than $15 million, went to April Brown, an Alabama nurse and single mother who was fired by Amedisys after she questioned its Medicare billing practices.
Utah’s Intermountain Healthcare Inc. will pay $25.5 million to settle claims that it violated federal laws, including the Stark Law against profit-driven referrals by doctors.