California physician group settles false billing case for $2.9M

Arch Health Partners agreed to pay $2.9 million to resolve allegations that the Poway, Calif.-based physician group submitted false claims to Medicare, according to the Department of Justice.

The allegations were originally brought in a lawsuit filed by a former Arch Health employee. The employee accused Arch Health, which contracts with physician groups to provide care through Escondido, Calif.-based Palomar Health, of erroneously billing Medicare for services that weren't sufficiently documented. The employee filed her case under the qui tam whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act, and will share in $183,830 of the settlement.

Based on self-disclosures by Arch Health, federal officials also alleged that the group paid referring physicians and physician groups above fair market value, thereby violating the Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark Law and the False Claims Act.

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