(The Center Square) – Three Missouri physicians and their pain management practices will pay $653,796 to resolve allegations they received illegal kickbacks for referring patients for laboratory testing.
Medicare, Medicaid and other federally funded health care programs are protected by the Anti-Kickback Statute prohibiting any offer, payment, solicitation or receiving of renumeration to induce referrals for items or services. The law attempts to ensure the judgment of a medical provider isn’t compromised by improper financial incentives and are based on the best interests of patients.
Gregory Stynowick, M.D., and his pain management practice, Pain Management Medical Center LLC, of Florissant, and Chad Shelton, M.D., and Michael Boedefeld, M.D., and their pain management practice, Pro Pain LLC, of St. Louis, agreed to pay the fine to resolve False Claims Act allegations.
Shelton and Boedefeld operate Pro Pain in Fenton, St. Peters and Wentzville. They agreed to pay $396,360 to resolve two allegations. Stynowick agreed to pay $257,436 to resolve two allegations.
They physicians also agreed to cooperate with the Department of Justice investigations of, and litigation against, other participants in the alleged schemes.
“Kickbacks are designed to improperly influence healthcare providers’ medical decisions,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a statement announcing the fine. “Patients should not have to wonder if their doctors’ medical decisions are being driven by unlawful inducements.”
Stynowick allegedly received thousands of dollars in payments from 2017 to 2018 from Beachwood Services LLC in return for Dr. Stynowick ordering laboratory tests from Landmark Diagnostics LLC, a laboratory in Houston, Texas, and Sprint Diagnostics LLC, a laboratory in Santa Ana, California. Stynowick’s pain management company allegedly received thousands of dollars in payments from 2018 to 2020 from the Alari Group LLC in return for Dr. Stynowick ordering laboratory tests from Genesis Reference Laboratories LLC, a laboratory in Orlando, Florida, and InHealth Diagnostic LLC, a laboratory in Dallas, Texas.
From 2017 to 2018, Pro Pain allegedly received thousands of dollars in payments from Beachwood in return for Dr. Shelton and Dr. Boedefeld ordering laboratory tests from Landmark and Sprint. From 2018 to 2020, Pro Pain allegedly received thousands of dollars from Alari in return for Dr. Shelton and Dr. Boedefeld ordering laboratory tests from Genesis, InHealth and American Institute of Toxicology Inc., a laboratory in Denton, Texas.
“Kickbacks can compromise medical practitioners’ judgment by creating financial incentives for certain medical decisions,” U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger for the District of New Jersey said in a statement. “Doctors and clinical laboratories are on notice that kickback-for-test schemes like those alleged here can violate the Anti-Kickback Statute. We will continue to use all appropriate tools to safeguard the integrity of the federal healthcare systems.”