WellBound of Memphis will pay $3,246,000 to the United States and the State of Tennessee for services rendered to patients at its Memphis facility that were in violation of the Anti-Kickback statute
Memphis, TN – WellBound of Memphis will pay $3,246,000 to the United States and the State of Tennessee to resolve allegations of false claims to Medicare, Tricare and Tenncare for services rendered to home dialysis patients at its Memphis facility. D. Michael Dunavant, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced today.
The Complaint alleged that from 2016 to 2018,WellBound of Memphis presented claims to Medicare, Tricare and Tenncare that were false in part due to illegal inducements paid by WellBound to physicians associated with its clinic. Under federal and state law, Medicare, Tricare and Tenncare will not pay for services associated with physician referrals that are in violation of the Anti-Kickback statute.
The allegations resolved in this settlement were first raised in a lawsuit filed against WellBound and others under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which permits parties to sue on behalf of the government for the submission of false claims and share in the recovery. The False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733, provides the United States with a cause of action against any person or entity that knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval.
The case was captioned United States of America and the State of Tennessee ex rel. Dr. L. Darryl Quarles v. Satellite Healthcare, Inc., UT Medical Group, Inc., and WellBound of Memphis, LLC, No. 16-2733-JTF (W.D.Tenn.).
"Protecting the health and safety of Medicare patients is one of our primary concerns," When medical providers break the law by defrauding the government by providing illegal inducements in violation of the Anti-Kickback statute, wewill use our resources to combat this fraud and hold them accountable," said D. Michael Dunavant, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
"When physicians receive financial incentives in exchange for patient referrals, it distorts medical decision-making and freezes out competition," said Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General in Atlanta. "This settlement sends a strong message that Medicare and Medicaid patients are not for sale."
This investigation was conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee State Attorney General’s Office.
Assistant United States Attorneys Stuart J. Canale and Matt Waldrop and Philip Bangle, Counsel for the Tennessee Attorney General prosecuted this case on the government’s behalf.