Asheville lab to pay millions to resolve unnecessary test claims

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FILE – In this May 24, 2016 file photo an employee of the Russia’s national drug-testing laboratory holds a vial in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice says a North Carolina laboratory has agreed to pay up to $43 million to resolve allegations that it billed for medically unnecessary lab tests.

A news release from the department on Monday says the settlement involving Geneva Diagnostics Inc. of Asheville resolves allegations that it improperly submitted claims to Medicare, TRICARE, and the federal employee health program for its test that were found not to be medically necessary.

The lab was also accused of engaging in improper billing techniques, and paid compensation to three phlebotomy vendors that violated the physician self-referral prohibition.

“Labs are expected to bill taxpayer-supported federal health programs for medically necessary services, not pad their bottom lines as alleged by the government in this case,” said Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to safeguard these vital programs.”

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