The former head of the National Quality Forum's Safe Practices Committee—which issues influential recommendations for improving health care—says he will pay a $1 million settlement to the federal government in response to allegations that he was paid to promote a surgical sterilization product and recommend its use to the committee.
Last year, Charles Denham admitted that his company was paid more than $11 million to promote a CareFusion surgical sterilization product known as ChloraPrep. At the same time, he chaired the NQF committee that recommended hospitals use the product.
According to Modern Healthcare, Denham at the time said he was surprised that the Department of Justice (DOJ) described the funds as kickbacks intended to influence NQF guidelines. Denham was never cited as a defendant in the DOJ complaint.
Hospital chain owner pleads guilty in fraud scheme
In a settlement agreement last year, CareFusion agreed to pay $40 million to the government to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act when it paid kickbacks and promoted products for uses that had not been approved by the FDA. The settlement was the result of a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former official at the California-based medical technology company (Schencker, Modern Healthcare, 3/2 [subscription required]).
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The Obama Administration has taken several steps to intensify its enforcement activities, including recent amendments to the False Claims Act and unprecedented coordination between the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services.
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