Rhode Island ophthalmologist to pay $1.1M to settle kickback allegations

Paul Koch, MD, the former owner of a chain of Rhode Island ophthalmology practices, has agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle kickback allegations, according to an April 20 Department of Justice release.

Dr. Koch allegedly paid optometrists to refer patients to him for cataract surgeries. The complaint was filed in federal court in Rhode Island by two whistleblowers. 

Between January 2013 and December 2017, Dr. Koch, Koch Eye Associates and Claris Vision allegedly paid kickbacks to referring optometrists whose patients wanted laser-assisted cataract surgery. Patients paid Dr. Koch up to $2,900 out-of-pocket per eye for the procedure.

In the settlement, the government is receiving twice the amount paid by Medicare for claims associated with the kickbacks. The whistleblowers will also receive $256,534 in the settlement payout, according to the release. 

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