Last week, the Attorney General for the State of Florida announced a settlement agreement between DaVita Healthcare Partners, Inc., several states, and the Federal Government. The settlement resolves allegations:
"... that DaVita paid illegal kickbacks to induce the referral of patients to its dialysis clinics, causing false claims to be submitted to the Medicaid program."
The settlement resulted after a whistleblower lawsuit which alleged that:
"... between March 1, 2005 and Feb. 1, 2014 DaVita identified physicians that had significant patient populations suffering renal disease and offered them lucrative opportunities to partner with DaVita by acquiring and/or selling an interest in dialysis clinics to which their patients would be referred for dialysis treatment. DaVita further ensured referrals of these patients to the clinics through a series of secondary agreements with the physicians, including entering into agreements in which the physician agreed not to compete with the DaVita clinic and non-disparagement agreements that would have prevented the physicians from referring their patients to other dialysis providers."
This is not the first settlement involving DaVita. In October 2014:
"... DaVita agreed to pay the United States $350 million in a federal settlement to resolve claims that it violated the False Claims Act by paying kickbacks to induce the referral of patients to its dialysis centers. DaVita agreed to a Civil Forfeiture in the amount of $39 million. Additionally, DaVita entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Counsel to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, which requires it to unwind some of its business arrangements and restructure others, and includes the appointment of an Independent Monitor to prospectively review DaVita’s arrangements with nephrologists and other health care providers for compliance with the Anti-Kickback Statute.
DaVita Healthcare Partners, headquartered in Denver (Colorado), will pay $22 million total in the settlement. The State of Florida will receive $5.6 million. According to its website, total company annual revenue was $11,764 million. Other states participating in the settlement include California, Colorado, Kentucky, and Ohio.