Health providers have been assessed fines totaling $1.43 million for allegedly conducting improper kickback and physician self-referral practices and for filing false and fraudulent claims with the federal government, the Office of Inspector General announced yesterday.
In each case involving a civil monetary penalty that is resolved through a settlement agreement, the settling party "has contested the OIG's allegations and denied any liability. No CMP judgment or finding of liability has been made against the settling party," the OIG said in a statement.
Most penalties are resolved through settlements with no decision made on the merits of the allegations or the respondents' defenses.
The act prohibits equipment suppliers from making unsolicited phone calls to Medicare beneficiaries regarding the furnishing of covered items "except in certain situations that were not present in this case." The law prohibits payment to a supplier who knowingly submits a claim generated pursuant to prohibited telemarketing calls.
The new fines bring the total of OIG fines so far this year to 21, five of which involved charges of kickbacks or improper physician self-referral practices and 16 of which involved charges of false and fraudulent federal claims.
The OIG says that when a healthcare provider "appropriately self-discloses potentially fraudulent conduct, the OIG takes the self-disclosure and the provider's level of cooperation into account when determining the appropriate settlement terms."