WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Jan. 23 that DJO Global Inc. (DJO), a Vista, California, company that produces medical devices, will pay $7.62 million after allegations its subsidiary, Empi Inc. violated the False Claims Act by making improper billings to TRICARE.

“We commend the Defense Health Agency and the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General for analyzing this conduct and working with the Justice Department to guard the integrity of TRICARE, a vital federal health care program that provides medical care and services to those in the military and their families,” said acting assistant attorney general Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

According to the Justice Department, Empi—which ceased operations in 2015—persuaded TRICARE patients to accept transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) electrodes. Empi would bill TRICARE for the services, and the Justice Department says the TENS electrodes were unnecessary.

“Service members, veterans, and their families deserve the best available medical care,” said U.S. attorney Gregory G. Brooker. “This $7.6 million settlement underscores our commitment to protecting the integrity of federal health care programs and it sends a strong message of accountability to those who would seek to take advantage of those programs.”

Handling the case for the Justice Department were the Civil Frauds Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, the Justice Department’s Commercial Litigation Branch, and the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General.

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