Akumin Corporation To Pay U.S. Over $700,000 To Resolve Health Care Fraud Allegations
WILMINGTON, DE (STL.News) U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss announced today that Akumin Corporation and Delaware Open MRI Radiology Associates, LLC have agreed to a $749,600.00 settlement with the federal government to resolve allegations of health care fraud arising under the federal False Claims Act. Akumin provides diagnostic medical imaging services at more than 125 locations across seven states including eight locations in Delaware.
Although diagnostic imaging studies are typically performed by technicians, Medicare regulations require that certain procedures be supervised by a physician who is present in the office suite during the procedure. During an investigation of Akumin’s practices at its sites in Delaware and Texas, the government identified over 1,500 instances, most of them between 2015 and 2017, in which either no physician was present for studies that required supervision or Akumin was unable to determine whether a physician was present.
The settlement announced today resolves a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act. The government’s claims are based on a whistleblower suit filed by a former Akumin employee. A whistleblower suit, or qui tam action under the False Claims Act, is commenced by an individual, known as a “relator,” filing a complaint under seal in the U.S. District Court, and providing a copy of the complaint and other evidence to the local U.S. Attorney. The United States then has an opportunity to investigate the claims. The False Claims Act provides the whistleblower with a share of the government’s recovery.
“The regulations that apply to Medicare procedures are designed to ensure patient safety and to protect the integrity of the Medicare program,” said U.S. Attorney Weiss. “When providers fail to comply with Medicare regulations and properly document their compliance, they undermine both the quality of patient care and the effectiveness of the program . This office is committed to investigating and recovering payments from providers who falsely certify that they have complied with these regulations.”
“It is imperative that Medicare requirements be followed in order to ensure patient safety and uphold the high standards of care patients deserve and expect,” said Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Working with law enforcement partners we will continue protecting federal health care programs and their enrollees.”
The resolutions obtained in this matter were the result of a coordinated effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dylan J. Steinberg represented the United States in this matter.
Related court documents and information from the civil lawsuit are on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cv-1593-MN.