7 Texas physicians, hospital CEO to settle kickback allegations for over $1.1M

Seven Texas physicians and a hospital CEO have agreed to pay more than $1.1 million to resolve allegations that they violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law by accepting illegal monetary benefits in exchange for ordering laboratory tests, the Justice Department announced Jan. 20.

The settlements resolve allegations that the seven physicians accepted thousands of dollars in kickback payments from eight management service organizations in exchange for ordering lab tests from Little River Healthcare, True Health Diagnostics, and Boston Heart Diagnostics Corp. Prosecutors alleged that Rockdale, Texas-based Little River funded the payments to the physicians by giving commissions to independent recruiters who used the management services organizations to pay physicians for referrals. The management service organizations allegedly disguised the physician payments as investment returns. The alleged kickbacks were paid from 2015-18 to:

  • Jaspaul Bhangoo, MD, of Denton
  • Robert Megna, DO, of Ferris
  • Baxter Montgomery, MD, of Houston
  • Murtaza Mussaji, DO, of Houston
  • David Sneed, DO, of Austin
  • Kevin Lewis, DO, of Houston
  • Angela Mosley-Nunnery, MD, of Kingwood 

In connection with the settlements, the physicians agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department's investigations of and litigation against other parties. 

Additionally, Richard DeFoore of Anson, Texas, the former CEO of Stamford (Texas) Memorial Hospital, which is now closed, agreed to pay $50,000 to resolve allegations that he participated in a kickback scheme to enrich Stamford Memorial in coordination with True Health and Boston Heart. 

"Stamford allegedly coordinated with True Health and Boston Heart representatives and paid volume-based commissions to independent contractor recruiters, who used MSOs to make payments to doctors that were disguised as investment returns but in fact were based on, and offered in exchange for, the doctors' referrals," prosecutors said. "Pursuant to the alleged arrangement, Stamford billed the resulting claims to commercial insurers and True Health and Boston Heart billed the resulting claims to Medicare and other federal healthcare programs."

In connection with the settlement, Mr. DeFoore also agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department's investigations of and litigation against other parties, and to be excluded from participation in federal healthcare programs for three years.

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