DaVita Healthcare Partners, Inc. has agreed to pay $350 million over allegations they paid kickbacks to induce referral fees for dialysis treatment. The allegations involve kickbacks that were paid between 2005 and 2014 to physicians and physician groups that had large number of patients suffering renal disease.
The United States Attorney General's Office alleged DaVita would employ a three part business model to induce referrals. First, DaVita identified physicians and physician groups with a large number of patients suffering from renal failure in certain geographic locations. DaVita gathered intel on the physicians to determine if they were a "winning practice" which included those young physicians who were in debt.
Next, DaVita offered their targeted physicians/groups a lucrative opportunity to enter a joint venture involving DaVita's purchase an interest in dialysis clinics owned by the physician/groups. Finally, DaVita ensured future referrals through additional agreements with their physician/group partners.
The investigation began as a whistleblower claim (Qui Tam) by David Barbetta who was a Senior Financial Analyst in DaVitas M & A department. Mr. Barbetta will be compensated under the False Claims Act.