United States Intervenes in False Claims Act Lawsuit Against MRI Provider
Wilmington, Del. – The United States has intervened in a lawsuit against Orthopaedic and Neuro Imaging LLC (ONI), and the company’s owner, Richard Pfarr, that alleges they submitted false claims for Medicare reimbursement. The announcement was made today by Acting United States Attorney David C. Weiss of the District of Delaware.
ONI operates independent diagnostic testing facilities (IDTFs) in Delaware and Maryland. The lawsuit alleges that ONI and Pfarr knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare by administering contrast dye during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans on patients without proper supervision by a physician. Contrast dye is a chemical that is injected intravenously into the body in order to make certain tissues more clearly visible on an MRI.
“The intervention of the United States in this matter illustrates our office’s commitment to combat healthcare fraud and protect Medicare beneficiaries,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Weiss. “Fraudulent billing practices, like those alleged in this lawsuit, not only harm taxpayers who fund government health care programs, they also create needless patient risk.”
The original lawsuit was filed by Robin White, a former employee of ONI. The lawsuit was filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private parties to sue on behalf of the United States for false claims for government funds, and to receive a share of any recovery. The False Claims Act permits the government to intervene in such a lawsuit, as it has done in this case.
The matter was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The claims asserted against ONI and Pfarr are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.
The case is captioned United States ex rel. White v. Orthopaedic and Neuro Imaging LLC, No. 13-1109-RGA. The case is pending in the U,S. District Court for the District of Delaware.