Dialysis provider DaVita, El Segundo, Calif., last week received a subpoena from the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of Missouri, marking the third ongoing government probe involving the company. The inquiry requests documents dated December 1996 through the present related to medical director compensation, pharmaceuticals and joint ventures, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kent Thiry said during a conference call. He said a significant overlap exists between this investigation and one being conducted by the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a probe that was announced in 2001.
In October 2004, the company announced it had received a subpoena from the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of New York. Thiry said that investigation was industrywide and appears to be separate from the other two. James Martin, U.S. attorney in the Missouri district, also led an investigation into Gambro Healthcare US, a subsidiary of Swedish-based Gambro and a company DaVita is purchasing. The result was a settlement in which Gambro agreed to pay about $350 million. Thiry said the government's success in that investigation, which included physician kickback issues, could have motivated the latest inquiry into DaVita. The Federal Trade Commission is looking into DaVita's acquisition of Gambro, and Thiry said the Justice Department investigations shouldn't impact that transaction. -- by Joseph Mantone