21st Century Oncology to pay $34.7M to settle false claims allegations

Fort Myers, Fla.-based 21st Century Oncology, the nation's largest physician-led integrated cancer care provider, has agreed to pay the federal government $34.7 million to resolve allegations it performed and billed for procedures that were not medically necessary, according to the Department of Justice.

The federal government alleged 21st Century Oncology and one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, South Florida Radiation Oncology, improperly billed for Gamma function, a procedure used to measure the exit dose radiating from a patient after receiving radiation treatment. The government claims the procedure was performed at 21st Century Oncology locations by physicians who were not properly trained to interpret the Gamma function results.

The government further alleged 21st Century Oncology billed for this procedure when no Gamma result was available due to technical failures in imaging equipment, according to the DOJ.

The claims against 21st Century Oncology were originally brought under the qui tam, or whistle-blower, provision of the False Claims Act by a former physicist at South Florida Radiation Oncology.

This is the second false claims settlement 21st Century Oncology has entered into in recent months. In December, the company paid $19.75 million to settle allegations it violated the False Claims Act by billing for medically unnecessary laboratory urine tests, and for paying bonuses to physicians based on the number of tests they referred to its laboratory, according to the DOJ.

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