Paducah Doctor Admits to Violating the False Claims Act and Being Liable for Millions for His Role in a Telehealth Scheme by Ordering Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and Genetic Tests
(STL.News) Patrick C. Finney, M.D., located in Paducah, has agreed to pay $561,800 to resolve allegations that he violated the False Claims Act by knowingly causing the submission of false or fraudulent claims to Medicare, knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used, false records and statements to obtain payment from Medicare, and conspiring to defraud Medicare by causing the submission and payment of false or fraudulent claims.
“I commend HHS-OIG and AUSAs Malloy and Weyand for their outstanding work in this case,” said Michael A. Bennett, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. “We will continue to aggressively pursue medical providers engaged in illegal kickback schemes as such fraudulent conduct puts vulnerable patients at risk of harm and drains the taxpayer funded Medicare program of money intended for legitimate claims.”
“This provider leveraged his professional status to pursue illegitimate personal profit, undermining both patient trust and the integrity of federal health care programs,” said Tamala E. Miles, Special Agent in Charge with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “HHS-OIG is proud to work alongside our law enforcement partners to hold accountable any perpetrator of health care fraud.”
The government’s complaint alleged that, between November 16, 2017, through August 28, 2020, Dr. Finney knowingly caused to be submitted, and conspired to submit and cause the submission of, more than three million dollars in false claims to Medicare. He did so by:
(a) entering into financial arrangements with Barton Associates, a locum tenens physician staffing firm, to provide telehealth services for clients of Barton Associates, related to the referral of Medicare patients for the furnishing of DME and genetic testing items and services and ordering or arranging for the ordering of DME and genetic testing items and services;
(b) receiving illegal remuneration from Barton Associates and its telehealth clients in exchange for referring Medicare patients and ordering or arranging for the ordering of DME and genetic testing items and services, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS), 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b; and
(c) causing to be billed to Medicare false claims for DME and genetic testing, because the claims were tainted by kickbacks and were not medically necessary, as he did not engage in the treatment of the Medicare beneficiaries, had no physician-patient relationship with the beneficiaries, often did not speak with the beneficiaries, and knew his prescribed goods and services were not medically necessary.
Through the Stipulation and Order signed by the parties and to be entered by the Court, Dr. Finney has admitted that he violated the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733, by knowingly causing the submission of false or fraudulent claims to Medicare. He also admitted to knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used, false records and statements to obtain payment from Medicare, and conspiring to defraud Medicare by causing the submission and payment of false or fraudulent claims.
Finally, he admitted that these actions caused damages for which he is liable to the United States in the amount of $11,025,088 under the False Claims Act (which allows for damages in the amount of three times the government’s loss, plus penalties). The terms of the Stipulation and Order allows Dr. Finney to fulfill his obligation to pay the Consent Judgment by paying $561,800.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica R. C. Malloy and A. Matthew Weyand investigated the matter.