UC San Diego Health Pays $2.98 Million to Resolve Allegations of Ordering Unnecessary Genetic Testing

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FILE PHOTO: The DOJ logo is pictured on a wall after a news conference in New York

UC San Diego Health, the academic health system of the University of California, San Diego, has paid $2.98 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by ordering medically unnecessary genetic testing reimbursed by Medicare. 

The settlement resolves allegations that, from December 2015 to October 2019, UC San Diego Health ordered and submitted referrals for medically unnecessary genetic testing performed by CQuentia Arkansas Labs, CQuentia NGS and Total Diagnostic II (collectively “the CQuentia labs”). The government alleged that this conduct led to the submission of false claims for payment to Medicare for these tests.

“Hospitals are the gatekeepers for medical care and are expected to ensure that all services performed at their direction, including genetic tests, are medically appropriate,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The department will continue to pursue those who undermine the integrity of federal health care programs and waste taxpayer dollars.”

“Ordering unnecessary genetic tests creates a drain on vital government-funded health care programs like Medicare,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman for the Southern District of California. “This settlement is another example of this office’s commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to hold medical providers accountable when their conduct leads to taxpayers bearing the cost of improper billing practices.”

“This resolution demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to pursuing those who abuse our health care system,” said Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner of the FBI San Diego Field Office. “False claims diminish trust in our health care while generating enormous unnecessary costs, and the FBI is proud to work alongside our federal partners to disrupt such schemes.”

The resolution obtained in this matter was the result of a coordinated effort between the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General and the FBI.

The government’s pursuit of this matter illustrates its emphasis on combating health care fraud. One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act. Tips and complaints from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement can be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, at 800‑HHS‑TIPS (800-447-8477).

This matter was handled by Trial Attorney Nicholas C. Perros of the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Price and Joseph Purcell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.