OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — An orthopedic clinic in north Mississippi and its owner have agreed to pay more than $1.8 million to resolve allegations that the health care provider knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
New Albany, Mississippi-based Mitias Orthopaedics, PLLC, its owner, Dr. Hanna “Johnny” Mitias, and a subsidiary, Champion Orthopedics, allegedly submitted false claims to the federal programs between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2015 for brand-name medication used for knee injections that were not administered, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Mississippi said in a news release.
Instead, a much cheaper, compounded agent was alleged to have been used, and the defendants improperly claimed compensation for the higher-priced products, the news release said.
“Taxpayers deserve to receive the products and services billed to their federal health insurance programs. The viability of Medicare and Medicaid is threatened by each wasted dollar. Our people come before profits,” U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner said. "This settlement sends a clear message that the Department of Justice will hold healthcare providers accountable if they knowingly overbill federal healthcare programs.”
Joyner said the settlement is an example of how whistleblowers and the government can work together to recoup and deter overbilling. The settlement resolves allegations in a 2015 lawsuit by a medical device sales representative filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery, he said.