Arlington, Texas-based ophthalmology provider Kleiman Evangelista Eye Centers will pay $2.9 million to resolve false claim allegations that it paid kickbacks to optometrists to induce referrals of cataract surgery patients.
Kleiman allegedly engaged in the practice of co-managing cataract surgery patients with referring optometrists, violating the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Kleiman allegedly provided benefits to referring optometrists, offering them paid dinners and Texas Rangers tickets.
"The Eastern District of Texas is committed to looking beyond labels and examining providers' actual conduct. Although co-management can be a legitimate practice, merely applying that label does not give providers carte blanche to remunerate referring providers in order to secure business," Brit Featherston, U.S. attorney, said in a March 23 Justice Department press release. "We are committed to investigating any financial incentives offered to secure referrals, which cloud providers' medical judgment, and violate the Anti-Kickback Statute."