ATHENS, Ga. (WRBL) — An Athens doctor and his medical center agreed to pay $5 million to absolve allegations of false medical claims. The case involving Mark A. Ellis, M.D., Ellis Practice Management, and its practice manager Patsy Allen was filed on Nov. 27, 2019. 

The settlement resolves allegations that the defendants violated the FCA by submitting bills to the Medicare program for urine drug tests that were not performed, were not necessary and for diagnostic tests that were not necessary for the treatment of its patients. 

The Northern District of Georgia had initiated the investigations in the throes of the opioid epidemic. In 2015, the Middle District of Georgia joined the investigation. 

U.S. Attorney Peter Dr. Leary said “This office will continue to relentlessly pursue allegations of false billing for services not actually rendered to patients, particularly where opioids are involved.” 

“We will not allow health care providers to engage in schemes designed to enrich themselves and deplete the funds intended for the government’s federal health care programs,” said Ryan K. Buchanan, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. 

The FCA is a federal law that imposes civil liability on any persons or entities who submit or cause false claims to be submitted for payment to the federal government or its contractors. The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination or admission of liability.