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U.S. Attorney General's Office settles claims of genetic testing fraud with Delaware physician

Delaware Public Media

The US Attorney’s Office announced today it settled claims of genetic testing fraud with a Delaware physician.

Kathy Cornelius agrees to pay a total of $500,000 to resolve allegations she violated the False Claims Act by ordering medically unnecessary genetic testing for Medicare beneficiaries residing in Delaware.

The claims resolved by the settlement are only allegations- it is not an indication of liability.

According to the Department of Justice, the False Claims Act imposes treble damages and penalties on those who knowingly and falsely claim money from the United States.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says between October 2020 and February 2022, Cornelius referred more than 250 Delaware residents to receive medically unnecessary genetic tests.

It alleges Cornelius based these on brief telemedicine consultations that lasted 1 to 2 minutes, and had no medical relationship with these patients. Additionally, it argues she failed to establish any legitimate medical justification for the tests.

The genetic tests were paid for by Medicare, and often cost thousands of dollars per patient.

“Doctors who refer patients for medically unnecessary services such as genetic testing drain vital funds from Medicare and other government healthcare programs,” said U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss. “This office will continue to use all available means to identify healthcare providers who increase costs through unnecessary procedures and to hold them accountable.”

Cornelius now resides in Alabama, and no longer practices medicine in the First State.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.