Owners of a Kentucky cancer clinic will pay $3.7 million to settle claims they prolonged chemotherapy for some of their patients to pad their bills to the government.
The owners of Elizabethtown Hematology Oncology were initially accused by a whistleblower of extending chemo treatments, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. They were alleged to have submitted false claims for payment to Medicare; Medicaid; Tricare, the military's medical provider; and the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program over five years beginning in 2010.
Elizabethtown is outside Fort Knox, Ky., and has a substantial military community.
In his lawsuit, whistleblower Dr. Ijaz Mahmood alleged the clinic increased chemotherapy treatment lengths by a factor of three or more beyond the medical standards "in order to inflate billings."
Mahmood, an oncologist at EHO, will receive nearly $300,000 as part of the settlement.
In addition to the $3.7 million settlement with the government, the clinic agreed to be monitored for three years by the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general, although it will be allowed to continue providing medical services for patients in federal programs and being reimbursed by the government.
The government can still prosecute clinic owners Dr. Rafiq Ur Rahman and Dr. Yusuf K. Deshmukh, who are also subject to federal tax charges, the Courier Journal reported.
"We take very seriously our obligation to hold accountable those who put profits ahead of patient care," Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said in a statement.