The Stark law prohibits hospitals from billing Medicare for certain services referred by doctors who have financial interests with those hospitals, and the anti-kickback statute forbids using money to get referrals for items or services covered by federal healthcare programs.
Aaron M. Danzig, an attorney for the doctors, said Wednesday his clients are thankful the matter has concluded so they can fully focus on caring for heart patients in rural Kentucky.
“They settled to avoid the costs of litigation. There was no finding of any liability for the contracts at issue, and my clients contended all along that the contracts were appropriate and proper,” Danzig said. “While the government alleged initially that my clients committed fraud in performing unnecessary medical procedures, those allegations were completely dismissed by the government, without any payment by my clients. My clients have always steadfastly denied conducting any improper medical procedures, and the government’s decision to dismiss those claims without any settlement payment supports this viewpoint.”
The government already entered into a $16.5 million settlement with the hospital for the allegedly bogus management contracts and for billing for allegedly unnecessary and excessive cardiology procedures performed by members of Chatterjee and Anand's practice.
The settlement announced Tuesday began with a complaint filed by three Lexington cardiologists under whistle-blower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allow private individuals to sue on behalf of the U.S. The act then allows the government to intervene and take over the allegations, which is what happened in this case. The three whistle-blowers will collectively get $68,400.
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