The Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday announced that the U.S. entered into a False Claims Act settlement with the Sleep Medicine Center (a Northeast Florida sleep clinic) and two physicians resolving qui tam allegations that the clinic billed the government for services that were not medically necessary or were not performed.
The government alleged that the sleep clinic and Dr. Zachary (who ran the clinic) submitted claims for polysomnograhic sleep studies and psychological testing that were not medically necessary, were not conducted by appropriately licensed personnel, or were not performed. The government also contended that Dr. Restea agreed to serve as medical director but failed to properly supervise the clinic.
In addition to paying a $200,000 fine, the Sleep Medicine Center and Dr. Zachary agreed to exclusion from participation in federal healthcare programs for 8 years. Dr. Restea agreed to pay $100,000.
The DOJ also announced that it is joining in the lawsuit against the remaining defendants, Drs. John DeCerce and George Young, and that the action will move forward based on allegations that they agreed to act as medical directors and staff physicians of the clinic and to supervise the clinic, but merely lent their names in exchange for compensation.
A former employee of the sleep clinic initiated the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida by filing a qui tam whistleblower complaint, and will receive $60,000 as her share of the settlement. The press release is available on the U.S. Department of Justice website.