Pennsylvania-based vascular surgery company settles whistleblowers’ suits for over $3.8 million

by Ben Vernia | October 25th, 2018

On October 23, the Department of Justice announced that Vascular Access Centers, based in Philadelphia, had agreed to a structure settlement of at least $3.825 million to settle civil allegations brought in two whistleblower’s suits that the company submitted false

Philadelphia-based Vascular Access Centers L.P., along with its 23 subsidiary and related corporations (collectively “VAC”), has agreed to pay at least $3.825 million to resolve claims that it violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare for non-reimbursable vascular access procedures performed on End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) beneficiaries and engaging in an alleged kickback scheme related to referrals for such procedures, the Department of Justice announced today.

The settlement resolves allegations that VAC, which currently operates facilities in eight states, billed Medicare for vascular access surgical procedures performed on ESRD beneficiaries, including fistulagrams and percutaneous transluminal angioplasties, without all of the required medical documentation supporting the necessity of the procedures. The settlement also resolves allegations that VAC submitted false claims to Medicare for services that resulted from referrals that VAC had induced through improper remuneration to physician investors and medical directors, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.  The Anti-Kickback Statute is intended to ensure that a physician’s medical judgment is not compromised by improper financial incentives and is instead based on the best interests of the patient.

VAC has agreed to pay a minimum of $3.825 million in a series of fixed payments over five years, and could pay up to a maximum of $18,360,794, if certain contingencies are triggered.

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DOJ also announced that the company had entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the HHS Office of Inspector General. The whistleblowers will receive a 16% share, the Government also announced (i.e., a minimum of $612,000).

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