The federal government says the institute used urinalysis to kill millions of taxpayers.Owner agrees to pay $ 7 million


Talk about washing away money.

Former Charlotte drug testing lab owners have agreed to pay the federal government more than $ 7 million to resolve claims that taxpayers have been charged for fraudulent medical claims, including urinalysis.

Federal prosecutors also accused the principal of the abolished Doctor Selection Institute service for providing doctors with kickbacks in exchange for referrals of patient urine samples for drug testing. In return, the institute has filed millions of dollars in false claims against Medicare, a federal insurance program for the elderly.

On Tuesday, former lab owner Douglas Smith agreed in a federal court in Charlotte to settle his claim for $ 4.5 million. Prosecutors say in 2012-14 Smith paid a kickback for medical practice in Knoxville, Tennessee, in exchange for a drug test referral.

Last week, former Smith business partner Charlotte McHugh agreed to pay $ 2 million for a similar surge in fees.

In December 2019, defendant Manoj Kumar, a former sales representative and lab manager at Physicians Choice, was assessed at approximately $ 650,000.

Charlotte’s deputy federal prosecutor, Bill Stetzer, said the defendant, especially substance abuse, undermined the credibility of what is usually an important diagnostic procedure.

“Providing financial incentives to healthcare providers in exchange for conducting these tests is not only a violation of the law, but also an important effort by healthcare and law enforcement agencies to combat the opioid crisis in the United States. It undermines efforts, “Stettzer said in a post-reconciliation statement by McHugh.

Physicians Choice opened in Charlotte in 2009 and then moved to Rock Hill four years later with a big fanfare. By 2017 The building was empty..

According to court filings, McHugh’s use of illegal incentives led to fraudulent Medicare claims between 2013 and 2015.

He provided the equipment to two doctors and then paid Kumar a commission and a final salary in return for influencing the two medical practices of referral to urinalysis through the Charlotte Institute. In another case, McHugh paid a loan to two other doctors and created more drug test referrals.

As part of the settlement, McHugh did not accept liability.

Charlotte’s federal prosecutor’s office filed a complaint against the doctor’s choice after the company was nominated in separate whistleblower proceedings in both Tennessee and Florida in 2014.

The cases were consolidated and transferred to the Western North Carolina area in 2017.