Assistant U. S. Attorneys Joseph Price (619) 546-7642 and Joseph Purcell (619) 546-7643
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – January 11, 2022
SAN DIEGO – UC San Diego Health, the academic health system of the University of California, San Diego, has paid $2.98 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by ordering medically unnecessary genetic testing reimbursed by Medicare, the Justice Department announced today.
The settlement resolves allegations that, from December 2015 to October 2019, UC San Diego Health ordered and submitted referrals for medically unnecessary genetic testing performed by CQuentia Arkansas Labs, CQuentia NGS, and Total Diagnostic II (collectively “the CQuentia labs”). The government alleged that this conduct led to the submission of false claims for payment to Medicare for unnecessary genetic testing.
“Ordering unnecessary genetic tests creates a drain on vital government-funded health care programs like Medicare,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “This settlement is another example of this office’s commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to hold medical providers accountable when their conduct leads to taxpayers bearing the cost of improper billing practices.” Grossman thanked the prosecution team and investigators for their excellent work on this case.
“Hospitals are the gatekeepers for medical care and are expected to ensure that all services performed at their direction, including genetic tests, are medically appropriate,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The department will continue to pursue those who undermine the integrity of federal health care programs and waste taxpayer dollars.”
“This resolution demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to pursuing those who abuse our health care system,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner. “False claims diminish trust in our health care while generating enormous unnecessary costs and the FBI is proud to work alongside our federal partners to disrupt such schemes.”
The resolution obtained in this matter was the result of a coordinated effort between the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General and the FBI.
The government’s pursuit of 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).
This matter was handled by Nicholas C. Perros of the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Price and Joseph Purcell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.
The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.