Healthcare company Cordant Health Solutions (Cordant) has agreed to pay almost $12 million to settle claims that they paid illegal kickbacks to increase urine testing orders. The civil suit alleges that Cordant paid more than $3.4 million in bribes to Genesis Marketing Group (GMG) and Northwest Physicians Laboratories, LLC (NWPL), to increase orders of tests for patients who were covered by Medicare and TRICARE. A whistleblower uncovered the kickback scheme, and the case was prosecuted under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.
Cordant allegedly paid remunerations to GMG and NWPL between 2013 and 2015 and profited from the extra urine test referrals. According to the DOJ’s press release, “In December 2019, NWPL and three executives were indicted for conspiracy to pay and solicit kickbacks in their dealings with various urine testing labs. Trial in the criminal case is set for February 1, 2021.”
Cordant will also enter a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). This 5-year agreement will require Cordant to routinely report to the OIG and contract an Independent Review Organization to oversee their relationships with clients and subsidiary companies.
Whistleblowers, or relators, are essential for bringing cases like this one to the government. Whistleblowers are also entitled to a percentage of the total money recovered by the government: in this case, the whistleblower will receive 20% of the settlement. The False Claims Act’s reward system is proven to effectively encourage people with information to step forward and report fraud when they see it.
Edited to add a reference and quote from DOJ Press release and change “Cordant executives” to “executives” on August 28, 2020.