Ex-Orthofix manager gets home confinement in Medicare kickback case

Orthofix International ($OFIX) may have resolved its ongoing Medicare kickback case in December. But fallout continues: A U.S. District Court judge recently handed down his sentence for a former manager charged in the matter.

Federal officials say that Derrick Field will serve 5 months home confinement as part of a two-year probation sentence. He also must pay $4,000 in fines on top of a forfeiture of $40,000. Field, a former territory manager for the company, pleaded guilty in March 2012 to health care fraud charges, admitting he falsified patient medical records to enable Medicare payments of more than $250,000 for fraudulent medical device claims.

Orthofix and some top managers had been accused of using kickbacks to encourage doctors to use its bone growth stimulator products, essentially committing Medicare fraud in the process.

The latest sentencing in the case follows a last-minute plea deal at the end of 2012 where Orthofix pleaded guilty to a single felony count of obstructing an audit and paid a $7.6 million criminal fine. In addition, the company agreed to settle a number of civil claims relating to the case that came up in a whistleblower lawsuit. That cost Orthofix $34.2 million plus interest.

Five other people have pleaded guilty in the case, and one other has been sentenced.

After the company's plea deal in December, president and CEO Robert Vaters noted that Orthofix was boosting its ethics practices as a result of the controversy in a bid to improve the company's "ethical culture."

- read the release

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