SightLine Health, LLC, a Texas-based radiation therapy company, has agreed to pay the federal government up to $11.5 million to resolve allegations that the company paid referring physicians kickbacks in the form of investment opportunities and ownership dividends. Integrated Oncology Network Holdings (“ION”), which acquired SightLine as part of a strategic investment in 2011, and other SightLine subsidiaries were also implicated in the settlement. The settlement ends an investigation into allegations that SightLine invited referring physicians to invest in a series of leasing companies and then distributed profits, which were generated by physician investors referring patients to the facilities, back to the physician investors. The government alleged that the distributions compensated physicians for their referrals, in violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, and that as a result, the resulting claims submitted to federally funded programs were subject to liability under the False Claims Act.
In a press release, U.S Attorney Erin Nealy Cox affirmed the government’s commitment to eliminating complex business ventures that improperly interpose financial considerations into a physician’s medical judgment. ION, SightLine, and SightLine’s related subsidiaries have entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement as part of the settlement.
The allegations resolved by the settlement were initially brought in a qui tam action and the whistleblower will receive up to $1.725 million.