Medicare Kickback Allegations Against FL Radiology Clinic Settled for $3M

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , June 10, 2011

A radiology clinic in West Palm Beach, FL and its former owners will pay the federal government $3 million to resolve whistleblower allegations that they paid kickbacks to referring physicians, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Midtown Imaging LLC, and former owners -- Midtown Imaging P.A., and PBC Medical Imaging -- were named as defendants in the whistleblower suit brought in 2009 by two former radiologists at the clinic. The lawsuit claimed that Midtown Imaging had alleged improper financial relationships with physicians and physician groups from 2000 to 2008 that violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law.

Under the civil settlement announced this week, whistleblowers Teresa M. Cortinas, MD, and Walter E. Wojcicki, MD, will receive $600,000, DOJ said.

“We are deeply satisfied with today’s settlement and encourage potential whistleblowers to come forward with evidence of wrongdoing affecting the Medicare program,” Wifredo Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said in a media release. “We are committed to fighting fraud and abuse to help preserve scarce Medicare funds for those who need it the most, the sick and the elderly.”

Calls to Midtown Imaging by HealthLeaders Media were not returned on Thursday.

DOJ has used the False Claims Act to recover more than $5.7 billion since January 2009 in cases involving fraud against federal healthcare programs. The Justice Department’s total recoveries in False Claims Act cases since January 2009 are more than $7.3 billion.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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