Quest Diagnostics to pay $1.8M to settle Medicare fraud allegations

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Madison, N.J.-based Quest Diagnostics, an international provider of clinical and laboratory services, has paid the federal government $1.79 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims to Medicare, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said Tuesday, according to the Sacramento Business Journal.

The settlement resolves allegations that Quest labs submitted duplicate claims for certain venipuncture services, as well as some panel tests and components of those panels, occurring from 2004 through 2014.

Elisa Martinez, a phlebotomist who previously worked at a Quest testing center in Red Bluff, filed the lawsuit under the False Claims Act as a whistleblower. She will receive $358,000.

Quest Diagnostics spokesman Dennis Moynihan cited "extremely rare" IT issues that affected Medicare's reimbursement for certain test codes that resulted in duplicate payments, and said the company is taking steps to correct the problem. He also noted the amount of money at issue represents less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of reimbursements Quest receives from Medicare every year, according to the report.

This marks the second recent settlement for Quest. In 2011, Quest reached a $241 million settlement with the state of California to recover overcharges, according to the report.

Quest Diagnostics has 10 clinical laboratory draw and testing stations in the Sacramento area. The company purchased more than 50 testing centers in California and Nevada from San Francisco-based Dignity Health in 2013, according to the report.

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