DOJ

Labs Safe, but Marketing Company and Referring Physician Get In Trouble for Kickbacks

By Kelly A. Briganti, Editorial Director, G2 Intelligence

Once again, payments to physicians to induce referrals of lab tests has led to government enforcement efforts—but this time, the labs were not involved and not charged with any wrongdoing. A New Jersey-based sales and marketing company, Promed Practice Consultants LLC (Promed), got in trouble last year for allegedly paying kickbacks to a physician for lab test referrals. The government alleged that two New Jersey owners of Promed, Daniel Gilman of Ocean Grove and Kenneth Robberson of Wall, paid thousands of dollars in kickbacks between March 2014 and May 2015 to induce physician referrals to two Promed lab clients. In October 2015, the two owners pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pay kickbacks. Now the government is going after the physician it claims received cash for referrals. The DOJ recently announced that physician, Vincent Destasio of Toms River, New Jersey was indicted Feb. 11 for accepting thousands of dollars for referring patients to two Promed clients for blood and DNA testing.

But, the Department of Justice (DOJ) emphasized at the time of the marketing company owners’ guilty plea and again in the announcement of the physician’s indictment that neither lab company receiving the referrals “had any knowledge of or involvement in the kickback scheme.” The DOJ alleged that the marketing company owners received monthly commission checks from the labs for referrals based on the Medicare and private payer reimbursement. From those commissions, they allegedly paid the physician kickbacks based on patients referred, up to about $25,000, the DOJ said. The physician faces up to five years in prison (on each count) and fines up to the greater of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss resulting from the conduct. The allegations in the indictment against the physician are merely accusations at this point and the physician is presumed innocent until the charges are proved.

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