Cardiologist's $4.9M in referrals violated Stark law, complaint alleges

Steward Health Care and Steward Medical Group, both based in Dallas, and St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston — which is part of the health system — have been accused of violating Stark law, allegedly paying a cardiologist nearly $4.9 million in incentive compensation. 

From January 2013 to March 2022, the system paid Arvind Agnihotri, MD, St. Elizabeth's chief of cardiac surgery, compensation that exceeded fair market value, according to a Dec. 18 news release from the Justice Department. Additionally, Dr. Agnihotri allegedly was paid as incentive compensation that took into account his referrals. 

The complaint also alleges the hospital submitted more than 1,000 claims to Medicare knowing that the claims for the services were not eligible for payment and received tens of millions of dollars for the false claims. 

The lawsuit was filed by a whistleblower and prompted an investigation by federal agencies, the release said. 

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