A mixed group of orthopedic and anesthesia providers including Georgia Bone & Joint (GBJ), Southern Bone & Joint a/k/a Summit Orthopedic Surgery Center (Summit Surgery Center), Southern Crescent Anesthesiology, PC (SCA), Sentry Anesthesia Management, LLC (Sentry), and registered anesthesia nurse David LaGuardia (LaGuardia) have agreed to pay $3.2 million to settle a whistleblower case involving Medicare fraud in the sale of prescription drugs outside the USA that are not FDA approved. The allegation was based upon LaGuardia, Sentry, and SCA providing a free medical director to Summit in order to encourage preference to the surgery center in lieu of the GBJ office, as well as GBJ and LaGuardia submitting false claims to Medicare in order to purchase prescription drugs outside of the U.S. that are not FDA approved.
All health providers agreed to pay a sum of $3.2 million to settle these allegations. This also infers there will be no actual determined liability and in so fully resolving the lawsuit filed by Sharon Kopko, former Practice Admin for SBJ to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. This also allows Ms. Kopko to receive a share of the settlement, officially concluding Sharon Kopko v. Georgia Bone and Joint.
Many were passionate about the case such as U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. who remarked “Kickbacks should never play a role in medical decision-making. It is critical to our health care system that patients seeking health care know that their providers’ recommendations are based on what is in the patient’s best interests and not influenced by illegal kickbacks or arrangements.”