EDITOR'S NOTE (Sept. 4, 2014): Originally, this story incorrectly reported that Cameron Gilbert is an administrator and founder of the i-Spine Institute. The description applies to Elkhart surgeon Jamie Gottlieb, not Gilbert. In fact, Gilbert is not involved with the I-Spine Institute. The Truth regrets the error.
An Elkhart spinal surgeon and a Texas-based medical device maker have agreed to pay $2.6 million to settle federal criminal kickback charges, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday, Aug. 29.
Federal prosecutors had charged Jamie Gottlieb with accepting payments from Austin-based Omni Surgical L.P., doing business as Spine 360, in exchange for using its products. The payments were made between 2007 and 2009 to an entity controlled by Gottlieb.
Although the defendants claimed the payments were made pursuant to a series of intellectual property agreements, the government contended those agreements were shams, and that the payments were intended to compensate Gottlieb for using Spine 360 products in surgeries, according to a press release issued by the Department of Justice in Washington.
The settlement comes more than five years after U.S. Marshals and investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Indiana executed search warrants at Gottlieb’s i-Spine Institute in Elkhart and Doctor’s Hospital of Bremen, along with Gottlieb’s South Bend home.
David Capp, the U.S. attorney for Northern Indiana, declined to comment on the settlement through a spokesperson when contacted Friday by The Elkhart Truth.
Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery said the department has longstanding concerns about improper financial relationships between health care providers and their referral sources because such relationships can alter a physician’s judgment about the patient’s true health care needs, driving up health care costs for everyone.
“In addition to yielding a recovery for taxpayers, this settlement should deter similar conduct in the future and help make health care more affordable,” Delery said in the press release.
Since January 2009, the Justice Department has recovered a total of more than $22.4 billion through False Claims Act cases, with more than $14.2 billion of that amount recovered in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs.