NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An acupuncture clinic in Nashville has reached an agreement with the United States to settle allegations of violating the False Claims Act, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday.

According to the DOJ, the United States determined that Nashville Acupuncture Clinic violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for non-reimbursable acupuncture from the period of Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2020.

In a release, the DOJ states the claims Nashville Acupuncture Clinic submitted during that period were not not authorized, not allowed as coded, or lacked supporting documentation.

During that period, the VA reportedly reimbursed Nashville Acupuncture Clinics for claim arising from the alleged false statements.

U.S. Attorney Henry Leventis says fraud is taken seriously by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and all entities who engage in the act will be pursued. 

“Health care fraud is a top priority of this office,” said Leventis. “We will continue to aggressively pursue anyone involved in fraud against government programs.  Whether it be a corporate entity, a clinic, or an individual provider, those who seek to exploit federal health care programs for financial gain can expect to be the focus of our civil and criminal enforcement efforts.”

An internal audit by the VA – Office of Inspector General estimated that improper payments for acupuncture amounted to about $137 million nationwide during 2018 and 2019. 

Special Agent in Charge Kim Lampkins, with the VA’s Office of Inspector General’s Mid-Atlantic Field, stated that the settlement proves that the VA is committed to protecting healthcare programs.

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“This civil settlement is a testament to the VA OIG’s commitment to safeguarding the integrity of VA’s healthcare programs and preserving taxpayer funds,” said Lampkins.

The DOJ states there has been no determination or admission of liability in this matter, and that the civil claims resolved by settlement are allegations.