NEW YORK – The Massachusetts attorney general said Thursday that Opko Health subsidiary BioReference Health has agreed to pay $10 million to the federal government and the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut to resolve self-referral and false claims allegations raised by a whistleblower.
According to the AG's office, BioReference disguised kickbacks as rental payments to encourage referrals for lab testing from high-volume doctor groups. The lab company then submitted claims for those tests to Medicare, MassHealth and Connecticut Medicaid in violation of state and federal anti-kickback and self-referral laws.
In April 2019, a former employee of Opko and BioReference filed a whistleblower lawsuit raising the allegations resolved by this settlement.
"Diagnostic medical laboratories provide important services and testing, but this company engaged in dishonest and unlawful kickbacks to doctors instead of earning their business," Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. "Patients and insurers should be able to trust that medical diagnostic companies are following the law and engaging in fair and honest business practices."
"Medical decisions by doctors should be based on what is best for each patient, not a doctor’s personal financial interest," US Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement. "When companies violate the federal health care laws that are meant to protect patients, healthcare costs for hard working people increase."