Three anesthesia providers and several Georgia ASCs, along with their physician-owners and an administrator, agreed to pay more than $28 million to resolve allegations that they entered kickback agreements, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia said Nov. 9.
The suit alleges that Ambulatory Anesthesia of Atlanta and Northside Anesthesiology Consultants, both in Atlanta, paid a number of ASCs for medications, supplies, equipment and labor in exchange for patient referrals between 2005 and 2015.
These referrals, the suit claims, violated the anti-kickback statute and False Claims Act.
"A physician's health care decisions should be based solely on what is in the patient's best interest, not what increases the physician’s bottom line," acting U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine said in the news release. "There are significant consequences for healthcare providers who put their own financial well-being ahead of the well-being of their patients."
Practices that entered settlement agreements:
- Ambulatory Anesthesia of Atlanta
- DCA Diagnostics
- The Endoscopy Center (Savannah)
- Endoscopy Consultants (Sandy Springs, Ga.)
- Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia (Marietta)
- Georgia Endoscopy Center (Alpharetta)
- G.I. Diagnostics Endoscopy Center (Marietta)
- North Fulton Medical Center (Roswell, Ga.)
- Northside Anesthesiology Consultants
- Northwest Georgia Orthopaedic Surgery Center (Marietta)
- United Surgical Partners International (Dallas)
- Wellbrook Endoscopy Center (Conyers)
Individuals who entered settlement agreements:
- Arif Aziz, MD
- Jean Calhoun
- Jay Cherner, MD
- David Finkelman, MD
- Alan Fixelle, MD
- Eugene Hirsh, MD
- A. Steven McIntosh, MD
- Stanford Plavin, MD
- M. Thomas Riddick, MD
- Bruce A. Salzberg, MD
- Gary Simon, MD
- David Socoloff, DO