OIG-HHS settles Civil Monetary Penalty kickback claims with physician-owned group for $7.3 million

by Ben Vernia | July 12th, 2010

On June 8, the Office of Inspector General of HHS announced a settlement with three Chicago-based physician-owned businesses to pay $7.3 million in Civil Monetary Penalties. According to the OIG-HHS press release:

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services today entered into a Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) settlement agreement with United Shockwave Services, United Prostate Centers, and United Urology Centers (collectively, United), all based in the Chicago, Illinois area. The agreement settles charges that, by soliciting and receiving payments from hospitals in exchange for patient referrals, United violated Federal anti-kickback laws.

Specifically, OIG alleged that United, and certain of its physician-owners, leveraged patient referrals to obtain contract business from hospitals in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. OIG also alleged that United caused certain hospitals to submit claims for designated health services that resulted from prohibited referrals in violation of the Physician Self-Referral Law (Stark law).

United provides hospitals with lithotripsy and laser services and equipment. Lithotripsy uses high-energy shockwave therapy to crush kidney stones, and the high-powered laser services are used to treat men with enlarged prostates.

The settlement is large for one based on the Civil Monetary Penalties law, 42 USC 1320a-7a.

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