Wisconsin health system settles orthopedic surgeon's kickback violation allegations for $10M: 5 details

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

Milwaukee-based Agnesian HealthCare and its physician group will pay $10 million to settle a whistleblower suit brought by orthopedic surgeon Clark Searle, MD, alleging the health system paid kickbacks and other financial incentives for patient referrals, according to the Fond du Lac Reporter.

Five things to know:

1. Dr. Searle filed the lawsuit in 2014 alleging that the health system adjusted physician pay from 1996 to 2015 based on the physician's specialty referrals to the health system's hospitals, services and other facilities. He also contended that the health system made deferred compensation payments that made it difficult for physicians who left the system to refer patients to competitors.

2. The complaint also describes an environment where Agnesian made deals on the side to procure additional compensation for physicians designated as high-referrals sources.

3. Agnesian denied claims in the lawsuit, and said it does not track referral leaks in the report.

4. Dr. Searle joined the health system in 2006 and served on the board of directors for three years. He ended his employment with the health system in July 2017 and reported that he had tried to raise concerns about Agnesian's compensation method while there.

5. The federal government declined to intervene in the case.

More articles on orthopedic surgeons:
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