Medical device manufacturing firm Biotronik will pay $4.9 million to the feds in a whistleblower suit that claims it paid kickbacks to physicians to use its products. According to the federal case, the German-based company provided expensive meals and other perks to doctors in Nevada and Arizona so that they would use their cardiac implant devices.
"Biotronik allegedly induced electrophysiologists and cardiologists practicing in Nevada and Arizona to continue using Biotronik devices, or to convert to Biotronik devices, by paying the implanting physician in the form of repeated meals at expensive restaurants and inflated payments for membership on a physician advisory board," the Department of Justice said in a press release.
Biotronik has denied the allegations from the beginning. "We are really clean when it comes to our relationships with physicians," US president Jake Langer told the Oregonian last summer.
The case was filed by former Biotronik employee Brian Sant, who will receive around $840,000 from the settlement.
Physician payments continue to be in the spotlight in the wake of the Sunshine Act. This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released an updated rule sheet that made a few minor changes to reporting guidelines, including eliminating an exemption that allowed physicians associated with accredited continuing medical education not to share payments on the Open Payments System. According to CMS, the new rule requires group purchasing organizations and manufacturers to report physician compensation provided to speakers at continuing education events.
Here are the biggest stories in the healthcare industry this week:
The spinoff would dispose of Siemens' most profitable division, but would spare it the large investments needed to stay competitive.
Hint: A full Obamacare repeal is not on the agenda.
These words are popular at conferences and in opinion columns, but what do they really mean?
What happens next?
The deal is unusual for both its scope and duration.
And here's what we were reading:
- A Forbes podcast picks Cerner president Zane Burke's mind about interoperability and the state of the IT industry.
- The Star Tribune delves into the likelihood of a medical device tax repeal.
- A number of knowledgeable pundits weigh in on the success/failure of the ACO model on The Health Care Blog.
- The AMA launched an awesome healthcare workforce map tool. See what providers are where.