Department of Justice

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Modifier 25 Requirements for Avoiding Potential Billing Fraud

by admin on February 7, 2020 No comments

modifier 25By: Dave Davidson

On February 4, 2020, the Department of Justice announced a $1.5 million settlement with Southeastern Retina Associates, a 17 physician practice, with offices in Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia.  The sole basis of the claim was the alleged misuse of the Modifier 25 billing code and charging for exams at higher levels than warranted.  The claim was initiated by a whistleblower, who will receive $270,000 from the settlement.

Use and potential abuse of Modifier 25 is obviously not unique to retina surgeons.  In fact, the modifier can be very beneficial to providers, since it allows for payment for those patient visits when the care provided exceeds the scope of the scheduled appointment.  However, given the potential for abuse and the many watchful eyes of the government (the Southeastern Retina case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the HHS Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the FBI, and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office) and wannabe whistleblowers, a periodic review of a provider’s billing practices is always a good idea.

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Operation Double Helix – Unprecedented Genetic Testing Fraud

by admin on October 10, 2019 No comments

By: Karina P. Gonzalez 

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) genetic testing is the next frontier for healthcare fraud.

In a fraudulent operation that the Department of Justice calls, “unprecedented”, elderly or disabled patients nationwide were lured into providing their DNA for testing in a widespread genetic testing fraud scheme powered by a large telemarketing network. The doctors involved were paid to write orders prescribing the testing without any patient interaction or with only a brief telephone conversation.

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DME Regulation: The Government’s CID Powers are not Unlimited

by admin on February 5, 2019 No comments

dme regulationBy: Matt Fischer

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently aimed its investigatory efforts under the False Claims Act (FCA) to the durable medical equipment (DME) industry.  One area of DME regulation focus has been on diabetic shoe and insert manufacturers.  In its arsenal of investigative tools, the DOJ has the ability to issue Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs).  However, there are limits to the DOJ’s investigatory powers.  If a CID is received, DME suppliers need to be aware of the limitations placed on the government and what initial steps need to be taken. 

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Civil Investigative Demand: What to Expect in a Heightened Regulatory Environment

by admin on November 6, 2017 No comments

DOJ InvestigationBy: Matt Fischer

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has the power to issue civil investigative demand (CIDs) when the DOJ has reason to believe that a person may be in possession of information relevant to a false claims investigation.  The DOJ is empowered to serve CIDs by the False Claims Act (FCA).  A CID is similar to a grand jury subpoena; however, it provides greater versatility in the use of the information obtained.  In addition to requiring the production of documents similar to a grand jury subpoena, CIDs demand other types of discovery responses and the information gathered may be shared between the civil and criminal sides of an investigation.  Given this flexibility and with the passage of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 (which changed the law to allow issuance of a CID without the personal signature of the Attorney General), the DOJ has substantially increased its use of CIDs in the realm of healthcare law enforcement.    

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