Hoyer Law Group, PLLC is proud to announce that the U.S. Government successfully settled a portion of one of its client’s claims against a California-based life sciences company, Exagen, Inc. Exagen makes diagnostic tests for the treatment of autoimmune conditions. Exagen agreed to pay $653,143 to resolve allegations that it paid specimen processing fees to referring physicians to induce those physicians’ use of Exagen’s laboratory tests. The whistleblower client is going forward on other claims that were not resolved by the settlement.
According to the settlement agreement, Exagen agreed to factual admissions that it paid certain referring physicians to complete blood draws for patients pursuant to specimen processing agreements that Exagen entered into with those physicians. Exagen billed federal health care programs, including Medicare and other programs, for tests that it performed after receiving orders from the referring physicians to whom it paid the specimen processing fees. Exagen did so after becoming aware of a June 25, 2014, Special Fraud Alert from the Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) that warned laboratories that the practice of paying referring physicians specimen processing fees could present a substantial risk of fraud and abuse.
The settlement stems from allegations originally brought in a lawsuit filed by HLG’s client under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private parties, known as relators, to bring suit on behalf of the government and to share in any recovery. In connection with this settlement, the relator will receive a portion of the total recovery.
HLG appreciates Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Roberto Coviello; and Christopher F. Algieri, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Field Office for all of their hard work. HLG also thanks Assistant U.S. Attorneys Abraham R. George, Chief of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit, and Alexandra Brazier, also of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit, who were instrumental to bringing this portion of the case to a successful resolution on behalf of the taxpayers.
You can read the DOJ’s press release here.
Hoyer Law Group is proud to represent and advocate for whistleblowers. Please contact us for a confidential evaluation if you have questions about a potential case.