WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Justice Department announced recently that 21st Century Oncology LLC will pay $19.75 million over allegations it violated the False Claims Act.
21st Century, a nationwide provider of integrated cancer care services located in Fort Myers, Florida, allegedly violated the act by billing federal health care programs for unnecessary laboratory tests.
“Today’s settlement demonstrates our unwavering commitment to protect the Medicare trust fund against unscrupulous providers,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said. “Providers who waste taxpayer dollars by billing for unnecessary services will face serious consequences.”
Details of the original suit include allegations that 21st Century submitted medically unnecessary claims to Medicare and Tricare for Fluorescence in situ hybridization, or “FISH” tests. These tests are performed on urine and can detect abnormalities linked to bladder cancer. Additional allegations claim 21st Century encouraged physicians to use more FISH tests by offering bonuses.
The recent settlement, for $19.75 million, resolves the civil liability of 21st Century. The Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch and the Fort Myers Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Florida handled the case.