Dr. Moustafa Moustafa and his medical practice, South Carolina Nephrology and Hypertension Center Inc., of Orangeburg and Bamberg, have agreed to pay $585,540 to resolve False Claims Act allegations that they received illegal kickbacks in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute in return for referring patients for laboratory testing, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina.
Moustafa and his practice have agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department's investigations of, and litigation against, other participants in the alleged kickback schemes.
The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by Medicare, Medicaid and other federally funded health care programs, according to the release The Anti-Kickback Statute is intended to ensure that medical providers’ judgments are not compromised by improper financial incentives and are instead based on the best interests of their patients.
The settlement resolves allegations that Moustafa and his practice received kickbacks in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute in return for Moustafa’s laboratory referrals and caused the submission of false or fraudulent claims to Medicare and TRICARE, the release stated, including:
“Rooting out healthcare fraud is a priority in the District of South Carolina,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs for the District of South Carolina in the release. “Kickbacks raise costs for taxpayers and undermine our healthcare programs by leading to unnecessary medical services. We are committed to holding those who give and receive illegal kickbacks accountable.”
The settlement was the result of a coordinated effort between the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Districts of South Carolina and New Jersey, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, HHS-OIG and DCIS. The settlement was handled by Senior Trial Counsel Christopher Terranova in the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch (Fraud Section), Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth C. Warren for the District of South Carolina and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kruti Dharia for the District of New Jersey.