Florida Doctor Agrees to Pay $911,136.75 to Settle Alleged False Claims Act Violations Arising from Improper Financial Relationship with Drug Testing Laboratory
PITTSBURGH – Dr. Nathan Hanflink of Mt. Dora, Florida, agreed to pay $911,136.75 to settle allegations that he received improper payments for making referrals to Greensburg, Pennsylvania drug testing lab Universal Oral Fluid Laboratories, and caused false claims to be submitted to Medicare for drug testing services, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
The settlement announced today resolves allegations that Dr. Hanflink referred Medicare patients to Universal Oral Fluid Laboratories (UOFL) for lab tests while engaged in a financial relationship with UOFL. Specifically, UOFL paid Dr. Hanflink to refer patients to the lab for drug tests; UOFL then submitted claims to Medicare for the drug testing services. The United States alleged that the financial arrangement between Dr. Hanflink and UOFL violated the physician self-referral law, commonly known as the Stark Law, and the Anti-Kickback Statute, giving rise to liability under the False Claims Act.
The Stark Law forbids physicians from making referrals for certain designated health services payable by Medicare to an entity with which the physician (or his or her immediate family member) has a financial relationship, unless an exception applies. The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of services covered by federal health care programs, such as Medicare. Violations of the Stark Law or Anti-Kickback Statute may give rise to civil liability for treble damages and penalties under the False Claims Act.
Along with the settlement, Dr. Hanflink also signed an Integrity Agreement with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General that will require, among other things, regular monitoring of his billing practices for a period of three years.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Rachael L. Mamula and Paul E. Skirtich handled the investigation that led to this settlement on behalf of the United States.
The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.