WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Dec. 19 that EmCare Inc. (EmCare) and Physician’s Alliance Ltd (PAL) have agreed to settle kickback allegations.
“These settlements demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that physician judgment is not compromised by illegal inducements,” said Chad A. Readler, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Patient care decisions should be based on the needs of patients rather than the financial interests of physicians.”
The Justice Department alleged EmCare, which helps staff hospital emergency departments with physicians, received remuneration from hospitals operated by the now defunct Health Management Associates (HMA). EmCare will pay $29.6 million to resolve the allegations.
In a separate case, PAL also allegedly accepted illegal remuneration from HMA. PAL and three of its executives—Lee Meyers, Dr. Michael Warren and Dr. Wallace Longton—will pay $4 million to resolve the claims.
“Improper physician inducements not only compromise sound medical decision-making, but also cost American taxpayers millions in unnecessary medical costs,” said Andrew Murray, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. “Such kickback arrangements will not be tolerated.”