A group of orthopedic and anesthesia providers in Newnan, Georgia, has agreed to pay $3.2 million to the United States to settle civil charges that they engaged in an unlawful kickback scheme, federal prosecutors in Atlanta announced.
The providers involved in the settlement are Georgia Bone & Joint; Summit Orthopaedic Surgery Center; Southern Crescent Anesthesiology; Sentry Anesthesia Management and certified registered nurse anesthetist specialist David LaGuardia.
LaGuardia, Sentry and Southern Crescent allegedly violated the False Claims Act by providing a free medical director to Summit Orthopaedic Surgery Center to induce it to perform more procedures at the surgery center rather than in the Georgia Bone & Joint office, according to the Department of Justice.
The government also alleges that Georgia Bone & Joint and LaGuardia submitted false claims to Medicare for prescription drugs not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and bought outside the United States.The claims resolved by the settlement were allegations only, and there was no determination of liability, according to federal prosecutors.
In a statement, Georgia Bone & Joint and the Summit Orthopaedic Surgery Center denied the allegation that it participated in any kickback scheme.
The companies “continue the surgical practice in the same manner and location as before the settlement,” according to the statement. “The government has unlimited resources at their discretion while small corporations have limited resources. Unfortunately, a settlement was a necessity, considering the cost of time and money to continue this litigation process of defending our position of innocence.”