ATLANTA - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia has announced that Georgia Bone & Joint (GBJ), Southern Bone & Joint a/k/a Summit Orthopaedic Surgery Center (Summit Surgery Center), Southern Crescent Anesthesiology, PC (SCA), Sentry Anesthesia Management, LLC (Sentry), and David LaGuardia (LaGuardia) agreed to pay $3.2 million to settle allegations that LaGuardia, Sentry, and SCA provided a free medical director to Summit Surgery Center in order to induce it to choose to perform more procedures at the surgery center rather than in the GBJ office; and that GBJ and LaGuardia caused the submission of false claims to Medicare for prescription drugs purchased outside of the United States and not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This civil settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by Sharon Kopko, former Practice Administrator for SBJ, under the qui tam, or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. United States ex rel. Sharon Kopko v. Georgia Bone and Joint, et al., Civil Action No. 3: l 3-CV-067-TCB. Under the False Claims Act, private citizens may bring suit for false claims on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery obtained by the government; Ms. Kopko will receive a share of the settlement.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

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