Attorney General Jack Conway and his Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Unit today announced that Kentucky has joined with 48 other states, the District of Columbia and the federal government in reaching a $256 million settlement with Millennium Health, formerly Millennium Laboratories. The agreement settles allegations that Millennium Health systematically billed Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care programs for excessive and unnecessary urine drug testing and provided free items to doctors who agreed to refer expensive laboratory testing business to Millennium.
Millennium, headquartered in San Diego, is one of the largest urine drug testing laboratories in the U.S. and conducts business nationwide. The settlement involves recovery of more than $2.65 million on behalf of the Kentucky Medicaid program.
“I am pleased that this settlement allows us to recover funds for our vital state Medicaid program,” Attorney General Conway said. “My Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Unit works hard each day to hold accountable health care companies that participate in this type of deceptive behavior.”
The states allege that, from Jan. 1, 2008 through May of this year, Millennium caused doctors to order excessive numbers of urine drug tests, in part through the promotion of “custom profiles,” which, instead of being tailored to individual patients, were in effect standing orders that caused physicians to order large numbers of tests without an individualized assessment of each patient’s needs.
Additionally, the states allege that Millennium’s practice of providing free point-of-care urine testing cups to physicians – on the condition that the physicians return the urine specimens to Millennium for hundreds of dollars’ worth of additional testing – violated the federal Stark Law and Kentucky’s anti-kickback statutes.. The Stark Law and anti-kickback statutes generally prohibit laboratories from giving physicians anything of value in exchange for referrals of tests.
As part of the settlement, Millennium will also pay $10 million to resolve allegations that, from Jan. 1, 2012 through May of this year, it submitted false claims to federal health care programs for genetic testing that was performed routinely and without an individualized assessment of need.
The settlement is based on a lawsuit filed by whistleblowers under the federal False Claims Act. A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units team participated in the investigation and conducted the settlement negotiations with Millennium on behalf of the states.
Since Attorney General Conway took office in January 2008, his Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control has recovered or been awarded more than $300 million for the state and federal Medicaid programs. These cases range from lawsuits and settlements against pharmaceutical companies to cases against individual providers.
In 2012, Attorney General Conway’s Medicaid Fraud Unit was named one of the most aggressive in the country by the nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen.
The Attorney General’s tip line for reporting allegations of Medicaid fraud is 1-877-228-7384.