A group of Newnan, Ga.-based orthopedic and anesthesia providers agreed to pay the federal government $3.2 million to settle allegations they were involved in a False Claims Act kickback scheme.
Here are five insights.
1. Georgia Bone & Joint, Summit Orthopaedic Surgery Center, Southern Crescent Anesthesiology, Sentry Anesthesia Management and certified registered nurse anesthetist David LaGuardia are the providers involved in the settlement.
2. Mr. LaGuardia, Sentry and Southern Cresscent Anesthesiology allegedly provided a free medical director to Summit Surgery Center to influence it to perform more procedures at the surgery center than in the Georgia Bone & Joint office.
3. The federal government also accused Georgia Bone & Joint and Mr. LaGuardia of submitting false claims to Medicare for non-FDA-approved prescription drugs purchased outside the U.S.
4. The civil settlement resolves a qui tam lawsuit filed by Sharon Kopko, a former practice administrator for SBJ. It does not determine liability.
5. "Decisions on where and how patients' medical procedures are performed should never be made based on thinly veiled bribes, as was alleged in this matter," said Derrick Jackson, special agent in charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of HHS.