Wednesday, August 18, 2004

$1.5M Stark and Anti-Kickback Settlement Reached with Pennsylvania Ophthalmologist and Two Hospitals

On August 6, 2004, the U.S. Attorney's Office issued a press release that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania reached a $1.5 million settlement with an ophthalmologist and the former operators of two hospitals in Pennsylvania based on allegations of improper financial arrangements and referral inducements in violation of the Stark and Anti-Kickback laws.

This matter involved a qui tam action alleging that the hospitals proived free space, equipment, personnel, supplies, excessive medical director fees and other services to the physician who operated a number of eye care centers. The physician was hit for $200K and the hospitals had to pay $1M and $250K respectively.

The settlement highlights the importance of physicians and hospitals understanding and complying with the Stark and Anti-kickback laws, especially in light of the recent clarification of the Stark laws under the Stark II Phase II regulations.

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