Doctor double-bills Medicare for arthritis drug—pays $349,860 to settle FCA allegations

On September 27, 2011, Stephen H. Stern, a Kentucky physician, and his practice, Kentuckiana Center for Better Bone and Joint Health, agreed to pay $349,860 to the U.S. to settle claims that Stern double billed Medicare for a drug used to treat arthritis. The settlement arose from a qui tam complaint filed by Suzette L. Sewell-Scheuremann, a former employee of Dr. Stern’s practice. According to Sewell-Scheuremann’s complaint, Dr. Stern would use a single vial of Infliximab, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, to treat multiple patients, and then bill Medicare as if he used a vial for each patient. In this way, Dr. Stern was able to fraudulently overbill Medicare for three years—from December 2003 until December 2006. In addition to his settlement with the U.S., Stern will also pay Sewell-Scheuremann’s attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses. As part of the settlement, Sewell-Scheuremann will receive $70,000 as her relator share.

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