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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Vision Quest Industries to Pay $2,250,000 to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

MINNEAPOLIS – Vision Quest Industries, Incorporated (“VQ”) has agreed to pay the United States $2,250,000 to resolve False Claims Act allegations that VQ caused Osteo Relief Institutes (“ORIs”) to bill Medicare for knee braces that were tainted by illegal kickbacks, the Department of Justice announced today. VQ also entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement.

VQ is a manufacturer of durable medical equipment, including knee braces and other products intended to treat conditions such as osteoarthritis. VQ utilizes independent sales representatives to sell these products, which are routinely billed to Medicare.

The settlement resolves allegations that between 2011 and 2018, VQ paid Mathias Berry, an independent sales representative of VQ, and Berry’s company, Results Laboratories, LLC, kickbacks in the form of commission payments that ranged from 20–35 percent of VQ’s net revenue on each knee brace ordered by the ORI Clinics. Operating under the direction of Berry and his companies, the ORI Clinics submitted claims for millions of dollars in Medicare reimbursements. VQ profited substantially from the arrangement. By paying Berry and his company kickbacks in the form of sales commissions, VQ was able to establish itself as the exclusive brace supplier for 10-12 ORIs annually between 2011 and 2018. VQ understood that Berry was in a position to tell the ORIs which braces to order. This arrangement locked in millions of dollars in annual brace sales for VQ.

“Anyone working with Medicare must understand that the payment of kickbacks is strictly forbidden,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger. “We will remain vigilant in addressing payment arrangements that undermine the core principles of Medicare and other government programs.”

“The payment of kickbacks to induce referrals for medical equipment can undermine the trust in our nation’s providers and result in costly reductions to our federal health care programs," said Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. “We will continue to work together with our law enforcement partners to ensure the appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. The OIG’s five-year compliance agreement is designed to ensure the alleged behavior will not be repeated.”

The allegations resolved by today’s settlement stem from a proactive government investigation based on a critical analysis of Medicare claims data. This effort also led to other previously announced settlements with Berry, Results, several former Osteo Relief Institutes and others for their alleged roles in this scheme.

The government’s settlement in this matter illustrates its emphasis on combating health care fraud. One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act. Tips and complaints from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, can be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).

The matter was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The claims asserted against defendants are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

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Topic(s): 
False Claims Act
Component(s): 
Updated August 30, 2022