Quest Diagnostics agrees to pay $6M False Claims Act settlement

Madison, N.J.-based Quest Diagnostics will pay $6 million to settle allegations its subsidiary, Alameda, Calif.-based Berkeley HeartLab, violated the Anti-Kickback Statute of the False Claims Act, according to the Department of Justice.

Berkeley HeartLab, which Quest acquired in 2011, allegedly paid kickbacks to physicians and patients to encourage them to use its blood testing services over other laboratories'.

The government alleged Berkeley paid kickbacks to referring physicians disguised as "process and handling" fees, and paid kickbacks to patients "by routinely waiving copayments owed by certain patients who were legally required to pay for part of their tests."

 

These illegal kickbacks allegedly forced federal healthcare programs to pay for medically unnecessary cardiovascular tests, the DOJ said.

The settlement came about from a lawsuit by Michael Mayes, MD, under the qui tam, or whistle-blower, provisions of the False Claims Act.

In an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review, Quest said it put a stop to the illegal kickbacks soon after discovering BHL’s use of paying processing and handling fees.

 

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