DALLAS – SightLine Health LLC has agreed to pay $11.5 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit over allegations it violated the Anti-Kickback Statute regarding Medicare.
SightLine, a Texas-based radiation therapy center owned by Oncology Network Holdings LLC, agreed to pay the U.S. government the settlement amount to resolve the allegations against the company. It was alleged to have targeted physicians in an effort to have them refer patients to its cancer treatment centers. The company then allegedly paid these physicians a portion of the profits from the referral.
In the suit against SightLine, the U.S. government claimed the company set up leasing companies that it would allow the physicians to invest in. The profits from these leasing companies were then distributed back the physicians (investors) after they referred patients that needed radiation therapy for the treatment of their cancer to the locations.
As part of the settlement arrangement, SightLine, as well as Oncology Network Holdings, will pay $11.5 million as well as enter into a five-year corporate integrity agreement with Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General. The agreement is designed to provide more transparency and accountability for the companies and prevent any other future misconduct. There will be internal as well as external monitoring of the companies and their relationships with referring physicians investors as part of the agreement.
“As the professionals charged with recommending and referring medical procedures for our community, physicians’ primary motivation must remain the well-being of their patients,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox in a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice. “Today’s settlement demonstrates our determination to eliminate complex business ventures that improperly interpose financial considerations into our physicians’ medical judgment.”
The lawsuit was filed following a whistleblower complaint under The False Claims Act. The whistleblower will receive up to $1.72 million for his/her efforts.
The case was handled by the Northern District of Texas’ U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Justice Department’s Civil Division and the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General.