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Feds fine Jacksonville radiology practice $1.4 million after fraud allegations

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla – A Jacksonville radiology practice has agreed to pay the United States $1.4 million after allegations that it knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for radiological images that were ineligible for reimbursement, the Department of Justice announced Friday.

The settlement resolves allegations that from April 27, 2012, through February 5, 2019, Mori, Bean and Brooks, P.A. (MBB) billed healthcare programs for radiological images that were interpreted outside the United States.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to protect public funds and our healthcare beneficiaries,” said United States Attorney Chapa Lopez in a press release. “We will aggressively pursue healthcare providers who violate Medicare regulations and hold accountable providers who knowingly submit fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid.”

The settlement concludes a lawsuit originally filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida by Thomas Heyck, a radiologist who formerly worked for Mori, Bean and Brooks. Heyck sued under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act permitting a private citizen to sue on behalf of the United States for false claims and to share in the recovery.

“Knowingly submitting false claims for financial gain is unacceptable,” said Special Agent in Charge Omar Perez Aybar of the U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. “Medicare only pays for services provided in accordance with Medicare rules. Today’s settlement should serve as a warning that anyone attempting to defraud taxpayer-funded health care programs will be vigorously pursued.”