Three Doctors and a Cardiac Center Will Pay Over $1.1M to Settle Kickback Allegations

by Andrew Murray | September 25th, 2019

On August 27, 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington announced the settlement with the defendants who were accused of receiving kickbacks from a medical testing company. The press release states:

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Three doctors and one medical practice entered into settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve allegations that they referred patients for genetic testing in exchange for kickbacks from a Seattle-area testing company, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  The physicians, Dr. Gregory Sampognaro of Monroe, Louisiana, Dr. Warren Strickland and Dr. Isabella Strickland of Huntsville, Alabama and a cardiac center, Cardiology P.C. of Birmingham, Alabama, have agreed to pay a total of more than $1.1 million to resolve the allegations.

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According to the settlement agreements, between 2012 and 2013 the doctors and cardiac center were alleged to have accepted payments from now-defunct testing company Natural Molecular Testing Corporation (NMTC) in return for ordering genetic tests from NMTC, which NMTC then billed to Medicare.  The scheme was alleged to be in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and the civil False Claims Act.

The providers have agreed to pay a total of more than $1.1 million.  Specifically, Dr. Gregory Sampognaro will pay $519,750, Dr. Warren Strickland will pay $95,053, Dr. Isabella Strickland will pay $107,900, and Cardiology P.C. will pay $411,300 to resolve the government’s allegations.  The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.

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NMTC declared bankruptcy in 2013.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has an unsecured claim against NMTC for $70 million, but has little chance of recovering those funds as there are few remaining assets.

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