Memphis's Poplar Healthcare and Poplar Healthcare Management have settled with the United States and will pay $897,640 to resolve allegations that Poplar and their subsidiary GI Pathology promoted and billed government payers for medically unnecessary diagnostic tests, the Department of Justice announced.
According to the DOJ, an investigation by the HHS-OIG and the United States Attorney's Office revealed that the tests, known as immunohistochemical mast cell tryptase stains, were promoted heavily in a multi-year campaign aimed at pushing their use. The campaign claimed that the test could "definitively diagnose" a condition known as mast cell enterocolitis.
"The Government alleged that Poplar's promotion of the test was not consistent with FDA approval requirements, and not supported by adequate scientific evidence," the DOJ said.
The investigation started when a pathologist formerly employed by Poplar named Gordon Wang, filed a complaint against the company on behalf of the United States. Wang will receive $205,841 as his share of the settlement, which is allowed under the False Claims Act when a private citizen uncovers fraud against the government and files suit on their behalf, the DOJ said.