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AutoGenomics to Pay $2.5M to Settle Allegations of False Claims, Kickbacks

NEW YORK – The US Attorney's Office, Western District of Wisconsin said on Monday that molecular diagnostics firm AutoGenomics has agreed to pay more than $2.5 million to settle allegations that it violated the US False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute.

The Carlsbad, California-based company is alleged to have been involved in a scheme to bill Medicare for molecular genetic tests performed on nursing home patients who were paid in exchange for the referral of the tests.

According to the US attorney's office, in April 2013 and March 2015, AutoGenomics and an unnamed California-based healthcare marketing firm agreed to use AutoGenomics' lab services for tests ordered by the marketing firm's clients. As part of the deal, AutoGenomics paid the marketing firm a specified amount in kickbacks for each test if it was reimbursed by Medicare.

In 2014 and 2015, Prestige Administrative Services, doing business as Prestige Healthcare, owners of residential nursing homes in Wisconsin and other states, helped the marketing firm identify its Medicare patients and authorized access to those patients to obtain buccal cell samples, which were submitted to AutoGenomics for testing. Claims were submitted for the tests to Medicare for reimbursement.

Prestige previously settled its case for about $1 million but did not admit to any liability, the US attorney's office said.

In all, the federal prosecutors alleged AutoGenomics submitted Medicare claims for patients residing in 76 nursing homes. The settlement is for allegations only and there has been no determination of liability on the part of AutoGenomics.

AutoGenomics was acquired by Prescient Medicine in 2019.