A "Chilling" $7 Million Settlement

A Florida radiologist who operated several imaging centers in Boca Raton has agreed to pay $7 million to settle a healthcare fraud lawsuit. The suit charged that Fred Steinberg, MD, the owner of the imaging centers, billed for CT scans that were never performed, performed CT and

“You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free.”—Clarence Darrow

A Florida radiologist who operated several imaging centers in Boca Raton has agreed to pay $7 million to settle a healthcare fraud lawsuit. The suit charged that Fred Steinberg, MD, the owner of the imaging centers, billed for CT scans that were never performed, performed CT and ultrasound scans that were not ordered and were not medically necessary, and paid physicians for referrals. Although federal law prohibits payments in exchange for referrals, the imaging centers maintain that the relationships with its referring doctors are not illegal or improper.

Even though the US Attorney’s office has described the case as an abuse of the Medicare program, Dr. Steinberg has denied doing anything wrong and the settlement allows the imaging centers to continue their participation in Medicare. A statement issued by the centers also said that the US Department of Justice’s after-the-fact review of medical necessity could have a “chilling effect” on the ability of doctors to provide patients with imaging services.

Perhaps the most chilling fact to arise out of the story, however, is a cost estimate by the American College of Radiology. According to the ACR, Medicare and other third-party payers shell out as much as $16 billion a year for unnecessary imaging tests ordered by doctors who make money from them.

$446,517Median annual compensation for a radiologist.(MGMA.com, 2007)

Read More:

5 Common Costly Mistakes That Doctors Make

Increase in Diagnostic Imaging Fueled by Self-Referring Doctors

Medicare & Social Security Going Broke

Investing in Tech Start-Ups