A former manager of medical device company Orthofix has been sentenced in federal court for defrauding Medicare by falsifying patient medical records. In March 2012, Derrick R.D. Field pleaded guilty to charges of health care fraud. He has now been sentenced to five months home confinement as part of his two years probation, and he was ordered to pay a fine of $4,000, and to forfeit $40,000.
According to the government, Field admitted that for several years he falsified patient medical records, causing Medicare to pay more than $250,000 for fraudulent claims for medical devices. Between 2005 and 2011, Field was a territory manager for Orthofix, a company that manufactured and distributed bone growth stimulator medical devices.
Last year, Orthofix agreed to pay the U.S. government $34 million to settle False Claims Act charges relating to the devices’ marketing. The company has also agreed to plead guilty to a felony federal audit obstruction charge, and pay a $7.8 million criminal fine, according to a Justice Department release.
A whistleblower lawsuit alleged that Orthofix misstated the devices’ true cost which “resulted in overpayments by federal programs; paid kickbacks to physicians and their staffs in the form of ‘fitter fees,’ referral fees and other comparable fees, to induce the use of Orthofix products; caused the submission of falsified certificates of medical necessity; and failed to advise patients of their right to rent rather than purchase Orthofix products,” according to the government. It notes that five Orthofix employees had previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with this matter.
As part of the settlement, Orthofix also agreed to enter into a corporate integrity agreement with the HHS Office of Inspector General.