Feds target former CFO in alleged cardiac kickback scheme

The Department of Justice has filed a complaint under the False Claims Act against Rick Nassenstein, former CFO, president and co-owner of Cardiac Imaging, which provides mobile cardiac positron emission tomography scans.

The complaint alleges that Mr. Nassenstein engaged in a scheme in which Cardiac Imaging paid exorbitant fees to physicians who referred patients to the company for PET scans — used to assess heart function and diagnose cardiac disease — in violation of Stark Law.

From at least 2017 through June 2023, Mr. Nassenstein allegedly had the company enter into compensation arrangements with referring cardiologists who were paid as if they were supervising scans, even though they were providing care to other patients in their offices or at times not even on site. 

The complaint also alleges that Cardiac Imaging's fees compensated the cardiologists for additional services beyond supervision that were not actually provided. The claims asserted in this case are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

The lawsuit was initially filed under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the FCA by Lynda Pinto, a former billing manager at Cardiac Imaging. 

In October, Cardiac Imaging and its founder and CEO, Sam Kancherlapalli, agreed to pay more than $85 million and enter into a five-year corporate integrity agreement to resolve FCA allegations. There was no determination of liability.

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