SightLine Health LLC, a Texas radiotherapy center, recently took steps to end an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ was looking into allegations that the practice violated the Anti-Kickback Statute when it offered financial incentives to other medical practitioners in exchange for patient referrals.
In an effort to end the investigation, SightLine Health agreed to a settlement with the government. The settlement agreement includes a payment to the DOJ of $11.5 million and involvement in a Corporate Integrity Agreement. The agreement will exist between SightLine and the HHS-OIG. It involves SightLine, along with its parent company and any physician investors, be subject to internal and external monitoring. The agreement is set to last for five years and is customary after a government healthcare investigation of this nature.
The DOJ investigated the group based on allegations the center set up independent radiation oncology clinics with physician investors. The statute violation allegations stem from the accusation that the investing physicians could refer patients to receive treatment at these centers and make an additional profit from that treatment.
The company stated that the investigation was posing a “distraction” on business operations and interfering with patient care. A recent piece in Health Care Business discusses the move to settle, noting the settlement is not a reflection of guilt but instead an attempt by the center to move forward with its business — to provide quality care to its patients.
Although kickbacks are illegal, it is important to note that there are exceptions. Those who face accusations of a violation may qualify for an exception. The exception could defeat the charges. As such, it is wise to seek legal counsel promptly to review the charges and better ensure your rights are protected.