Jason Layne Davis, MD, a major and cardiologist in the U.S. Army, was sentenced Oct. 7 in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma, Wash., to a $7,986 fine and $4,812 in restitution after accepting funds from an illegal source while performing his duties as a physician in the Army. Between April 2007 and October 2007, in addition to his salary from the Army, Davis accepted nearly $5,000 from Guidant Sales Corporation, a subsidiary of Boston Scientific.
At the time, Davis was chief of the cardiology department at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma.
In October 2010, Guidant paid $600,000 to the U.S. to settle claims that it illegally provided similar payments, meals and gratuities to Davis so that he would use the company’s medical devices in cardiac procedures he performed and use his influence with other physicians practicing at Madigan so they would use the company’s devices as well.
In ordering the fine, Magistrate Judge Richard Creatura said it represented every meal, every bottle of wine, everything of value Davis accepted from Guidant. “Paying these amounts and the public shame of the criminal conviction are adequate punishment,” Creatura said in a Department of Justice (DoJ) statement.
According to the plea agreement signed in January, Davis began his work at Madigan in 2004. He became chief of cardiology in late 2008. In the civil settlement with the government, Guidant settled claims that between January 2006 and February 2009, the company provided Davis with meals, payments and other gratuities to encourage Davis to use devices manufactured by Boston Scientific for cardiac surgeries at Madigan. During this period of time, Davis almost exclusively used Boston Scientific’s pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.
Davis admitted accepting $4,812 in payments for “training” from Guidant Sales Corporation/Boston Scientific sales representatives who observed seven of Davis’ surgeries. In fact, however, as Davis admitted, other Guidant/Boston Scientific employees conducted the training while Davis performed the surgery. According to the case, Davis never sought approval to use the surgeries for training purposes and never received permission to engage in this employment or accept these payments from the company.
This is one of the first cases in the country where both the company and the physician accepting illegal benefits have been sanctioned, according to the DoJ. In their sentencing memo prosecutors noted, “There is no question but that Dr. Davis committed a criminal offense, and that he should have known better, but there is also no doubt that those who plied him with food, alcohol, money and other courtesies knew exactly what they were doing, and why they were doing it. “
Creatura found that “no patient’s health was compromised” by Davis, who is scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan.
The case was investigated by the Department of Defense Inspector General and Army Criminal Investigation Division, Major Procurement Fraud Unit. The criminal case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Reese Jennings. The civil case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Winn.