Ky. cardiologists settle false-claims charges
Two Kentucky cardiologists have agreed to pay $380,000 to settle allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by entering into bogus management agreements with an area hospital in exchange for referring their patients to that hospital.
The government alleged that Drs. Satyabrata Chatterjee and Ashwini Anand, who owned cardiology physician group Cumberland Clinic, London, Ky., entered into sham management agreements with St. Joseph Hospital, also in London. The two were paid to provide management services but never actually provided them, according to the government. Instead, they allegedly agreed to refer their clinic’s patients to the hospital for cardiology and other services, in violation of the Stark law and the anti-kickback statute.
The Stark law prohibits hospitals from billing Medicare for certain services referred by doctors who have financial interests in those hospitals, and the anti-kickback statute forbids paying to get referrals for items or services covered by federal healthcare programs.