Radiologist to Pay Up for Kickback Scam

     HOUSTON (CN) – A radiologist will pay the United States $650,000 to settle referral-kickback claims, federal prosecutors said.
     The settlement says Dr. Jack Baker and 17 doctors entered into improper contracts for phony personal services, which incorporated the value of referrals from medical directors. Other contracts to pay employees of doctor’s offices accounted for referrals, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
     Baker violated a U.S. law against billing Medicare for referrals from doctors with whom the providers have a financial relationship, prosecutors said.
     “These types of financial arrangements are prohibited for a variety of reasons, including that they increase the cost of health care by incentivizing physicians to make referrals for unnecessary tests,” the government said in a statement.
     The settlement resolves a federal whistle-blower lawsuit filed Drs. Phillip Blum and David Spinks in 2010.
     Private citizens can file lawsuits on the government’s behalf and share in any settlements under the False Claims Act. Blum and Spinks will get 20 percent of the settlement, equal to $130,000, prosecutors said.
     The deal settles allegations that Baker violated the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Stark Statute and the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act between 2002 and 2010, prosecutors said.
     Baker also agreed to voluntarily abstain from participating in Medicare and Medicaid for six years.

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