Mobile, Ala. (WALA) - The United States has joined in suit filed in federal court alleging the IMC-Diagnostic and Medical Clinic in Mobile improperly compensated physicians serving Medicare patients.
The clinic is affiliated with Infirmary Health System. It says the claims are without merit.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for the civil division Stuart F. Delery explained some of the allegations in a press release.
"Financial arrangements that compensate physicians for referrals encourage physicians to make decisions based on financial gain rather than patient needs," said Delery.
The Diagnostic and Medical Clinic is accused of submitting $521,600,599 worth of charges to government healthcare systems, including Medicare and Medicaid over the span of six years.
According to the U.S. government physicians collected $18,603,664 in illegal compensations from 2004 to 2010.
The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, a watchdog group for private insurance companies, weighed in on the case.
"It's not a new type of case but certainly the amount of money involved is significant…makes it a very significant case," said NHCAA Chief Executive Officer Louis Saccoccio,
A former physician , Christian Heesch, was the whistleblower in this case. Heesch filed the lawsuit back in 2011. On July 8, the federal government has intervened under the False Claims Act.
In a statement the U.S. attorney in Mobile, Kenyen Brown, said in part:
"We hope to ensure that precious health care resources are not wasted due to improper financial relationships among health care providers."
The spokesperson Infirmary Health System, Lauren Giddens, said the claims are unfounded. It reads in part:
" …Tests performed at the clinic were medically necessary to provide appropriate care for our patients and in compliance with applicable requirements."
The clinic said it supports the Governments' efforts to eliminate waste, but these allegations are without merit.
If the government wins this case, Heesch would be entitled to receive a portion of the case money.
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