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Local business settles with federal investigators


A Lancaster-based radiation therapy center paid $3 million to resolve allegations that it submitted fraudulent bills over a nearly 10-year period to three government-run healthcare programs for unsupervised radiation oncology services, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced this week.

Valley Tumor Medical Group paid about $2.86 million to the government and $134,307 to the State of California on April 13 to resolve allegations in a “whistleblower” lawsuit that it submitted fraudulent bills to the Medicare, Medi-Cal and TRICARE programs.

Valley Tumor did not admit liability in settling the suit.

The civil action was unsealed and dismissed on April 20 by U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said it learned of the unsealing late Monday.

From Jan. 3, 2006 through Nov. 13, 2015, Valley Tumor’s radiation therapists were accused of administering radiation oncology treatments at the center’s Ridgecrest location to beneficiaries of the three government healthcare programs when no doctor was on-site, which is required by federal regulations. Valley Tumor closed its Ridgecrest location in early 2016.

Valley Tumor was named in a federal suit filed in 2015, alleging the company and its doctor-owners knowingly submitted false claims to the Medicare, Medi-Cal and TRICARE programs.

The lawsuit was brought by a former Valley Tumor employee under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to bring suit on behalf of the government and share in any recovery.

The whistleblower, Jared Shindler, received $555,000 from the settlement.