The Department of Justice announced today that two cardiologists based in London, Kentucky, have agreed to pay $380,000 to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by entering into sham management agreements with Saint Joseph Hospital, also based in London, Kentucky, in exchange for the referral of cardiology procedures and other healthcare services to Saint Joseph.
“Physicians who place their financial interests above the well-being of their patients will be held accountable,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Civil Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to preventing illegal financial relationships that undermine the integrity of our public healthcare programs.”
Satyabrata Chatterjee and Ashwini Anand jointly owned Cumberland Clinic, a physician group that provided cardiology services. The government alleged that St. Joseph Hospital entered into sham agreements with Chatterjee and Anand, under which the physicians were paid to provide management services but did not in fact do so. The government further alleged that, in exchange for the sham agreements, Chatterjee and Anand agreed to enter into an exclusive agreement with St. Joseph to refer Cumberland Clinic patients to the hospital for cardiology and other services in violation of the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute. The Stark Law forbids a hospital from billing Medicare for certain services referred by physicians who have a financial relationship with the entity. The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by federal health care programs, including Medicare.
Read rest of story here