Physician and Medical Office to Pay Over $2.6 Million to Settle False Claims Act and Kickback Allegations

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

United States Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong today announced that FEEL WELL HEALTH CENTER OF SOUTHINGTON, P.C. (formerly doing business as “Feel Well Health Center”) and KEVIN P. GREENE, M.D. (“Greene”) have entered into a civil settlement agreement with the federal and state governments and agreed to pay more than $2.6 million to resolve allegations that they violated the federal and state False Claims Acts by improperly billing federal and state healthcare programs, and that they received illegal kickbacks.

Greene is a physician and the principal member and owner of Feel Well Health Center (now doing business as “Confidia Health Institute”), a primary care medical practice with offices in Southington and Bristol.  Greene also operated a medical practice in Indialantic, Florida until mid-2019.

The federal and state governments allege that Greene and Feel Well Health Center violated the federal and state False Claims Acts by improperly billing Medicare, Connecticut Medicaid, and the State of Connecticut Comptroller Healthcare Programs.  Between April 2016 and January 2020, Greene and Feel Well Health Center submitted false claims for payment for medical visits when, in fact, the patients had received fitness-related services with no legitimate medical component at a gym they operated that was staffed by a medically unlicensed coach and yoga instructor.  Greene and Feel Well Health Center created false medical records for these gym visits and attached false diagnoses in association with these claims.

In addition, the governments allege that between April 2016 and March 2020, Greene and Feel Well Health Center submitted false claims for services allegedly rendered by Greene in an office setting when he was not physically present in the office suite, including when he was out of the country, on vacation, or in a different office at the time.  For instances where Greene and Feel Well Health Center submitted claims for alleged telemedicine, they did not meet applicable telemedicine requirements for office location or use an interactive telecommunications system.

It is also alleged that Greene and Feel Well Health Center also submitted false claims for medically unnecessary testing or procedures for neurofeedback, ultrasounds, and autonomic function testing between April 2016 and August 2021.

The governments further allege that Greene and Feel Well Health Center violated the Anti-Kickback Statute by receiving remuneration from Boston Heart Diagnostics Corp. in return for ordering from the company clinical laboratory services for Medicare patients.  The payments were in the form of purported “processing and handling” fees between October 2012 and June 2014, and “speaker” fees, which were for rates greater than fair market value, between January 2017 and December 2018.

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To resolve their liability, Greene and Feel Well Health Center agreed to pay $2,656,685.52, plus interest.  Greene and Feel Well Health Center have also entered into a three-year billing Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designed to ensure future compliance with the requirements of federal healthcare programs.

“We allege in this case that Dr. Greene and his medical practice fraudulently billed federal and state healthcare programs for several years, and also received illegal kickbacks involving laboratory services ordered for Medicare patients,” said U.S. Attorney Avery.  “Physicians and medical practices who participate in taxpayer funded healthcare plans have an obligation to bill for services honestly and accurately, and comply with other federal laws.  Those who don’t will be held accountable.”

“Dr. Greene and Feel Well Health Center billed the state both for services he did not provide as well as for costly tests that were medically unnecessary,” said Attorney General Tong.  “He falsified records and diagnoses to bill the state for fitness services with no legitimate medical component.  He accepted illegal kickbacks for lab testing, enriching himself in violation of federal law.  Our settlement forces him to pay $2.6 million, as well as commit to a series of rigorous oversight measures to ensure this unacceptable misconduct never happens again.”

This matter was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Gruber, and by Deputy Associate Attorney General Gregory O’Connell of the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General.

The allegations resolved by today’s settlement stem from an investigation based on a critical analysis of Medicare claims data.  People who suspect health care fraud are encouraged to report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS.