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Lexington podiatrist settles claims suit

A Lexington podiatrist and his company have agreed to settle allegations that they violated the Federal False Claims Act, a statement from United States Attorney Candace G. Hill said Friday.

According to the statement, Dr. Michael Allen and Lexington Foot and Ankle have agreed to pay $419,330.98 to settle allegations that they submitted false claims to Medicaid, Medicare and the Office of Personnel Management between January 2002 and February 2007.

According to the settlement agreement, prosecutors contended that Allen and the company billed government programs for orthotic shoes from Jan. 4, 2002, through March 1, 2005. Prosecutors also contended that from Jan. 17, 2002, through Dec. 16, 2004. the doctor and the company unbundled follow-up visits for the fitting of orthotics that should have been included in initial consultations.

Further, the settlement agreement says that from Jan. 1, 2002, to Feb. 28, 2008, Allen and the company billed Medicare and Medicaid for services performed by a nurse practitioner or physician's assistant at the higher billing rate of a podiatrist.

The agreement says Adams and the company billed Medicare and Medicaid for the removal of Kirchner wires — stainless steel pins inserted to keep bone fragments together. The removal should have been billed as a surgical procedure.

Adams and the company also improperly billed government programs for evaluations and removal of damaged tissue, the agreement says.

Robin Rue, who worked as Lexington Foot and Ankle's billing manager, filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit in July 2005. Because of her help, she is entitled to $71,286.26 of the United States' recovery, Hill's statement said.