After years of allegedly stealing from taxpayers and the government, Diagnostic Imaging Group (DIG) has submitted to paying $15.5 million to resolve charges that it submitted false claims for payment, defrauded the government, and paying kickbacks to doctors.
‘When a health care facility submits false claims for payment, it undermines the integrity of the health care system,” commented Christopher Paulos and attorney with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who practices in the areas of qui tam or whistleblower and False Claims Act litigation. “Health care providers, both institutions and physicians, should not have their interests vested in personal gain when considering the best way to care for a patient.”
The court documents alleged that submitted false claims in New Jersey and New York as well as to the federal government.
DIG allegedly made a practice of bundling services that included test that were unnecessary and did not give physicians the option to select individual tests from the packages. The company charged for testing and scans that were never performed or interpreted. And even more, DIG routinely required payed physicians to “supervise” patients undergoing nuclear testing. For this supervision, the physicians were paid far more than the market value of their services. The screen was a cover to funnel kickbacks to doctors for referrals.
The lawsuit against Diagnostic Imaging Group was filed by three whistleblowers, Mark Novick, M.D., Rey Solano and RIchard Steinman, M.D.. For their efforts, they will receive $1.5 million, $1.07 million, and $209,250 respectively.
“The value of whistleblowers in battling corruption cannot be overstated,” Mr. Paulos added. “Without whistleblowers fraudulent schemes, like those alleged here, will go on without end, continuing to be an unnecessary burden on taxpayers and the health care marketplace.”
The lawsuits were filed under the qui tam provision of the federal False Claims Act. These laws provide protections to whistleblowers and incentives to come forward. Through the False Claims Act individuals can file suit on behalf of the government and potentially share in any recovery that is made as a result.