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DOJ sues Orlando urologist, ASC over alleged $3M kickbacks related to lithotripsy: 4 details

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against an Orlando-based urologist and the outpatient surgery center where he performed procedures over alleged anti-kickback violations, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

 

Four things to know:

1. The DOJ alleges Patrick Hunter, MD, performed unnecessary kidney stone procedures at the Orlando Center for Outpatient Surgery, which is affiliated with Surgical Care Affiliates. The ASC also paid Dr. Hunter $3 million over three years to lease his lithotripsy machine, which the DOJ considers a kickback.

2. Former SCA Director of Compliance Scott Thompson filed the whistleblower lawsuit in 2016. The DOJ has decided to pursue the case.

3. Dr. Hunter logged the most lithotripsy procedures performed nationwide in 2012, according to the report, and the lawsuit alleges he recorded few details about patients' kidney stones in their records.

4. Now retired, Dr. Hunter had billed Medicare as well as other payers $2,300 on average per procedure and the ASC billed Medicare facility fees of $6,500 to $8,000. At the same time, the ASC paid Dr. Hunter $1,300 to $2,200 per procedure for use of the lithotripsy machine, and the lawsuit cites the gap between the facility charges and payments to Dr. Hunter "yield a significant profit and incentive to The Center," according to the report.

More articles on surgery centers:
Pain physician pleads guilty to accepting $140,000 kickbacks from Insys
Cincinnati health system consolidates outpatient cardiology care in $2M renovation project — 3 insights
8 major CMS changes to take effect in 2020

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