Virginia health system, physician group pay $9M to settle false billing claims

Centra Health and Blue Ridge Ear, Nose, Throat and Plastic Surgery, both in Lynchburg, Va., agreed to pay $9.3 million to settle allegations that they violated the False Claims Act and state fraud laws, the Department of Justice said April 22. 

Federal investigators accused the organizations of improper financial relationships. According to the Justice Department, Blue Ridge ENT allegedly had a financial referral relationship with Centra to guarantee income to one of its physicians. Centra agreed to reimburse Blue Ridge ENT for actual additional incremental costs attributed to the physician, according to the allegations. However, Blue Ridge ENT knowingly claimed and received more reimbursement than would be allowed under Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute.

Centra self-disclosed the violations of the False Claims Act and worked with federal officials to resolve the issue. 

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