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Oct 14, 2021 by |

Contra Costa County Whistleblower Attorney: $2.8 Million Settlement of False Claims Act Allegations Of Unnecessary Cancer Lab Tests And Treatments

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Qui Tam Follows Malpractice And Criminal Cases

Allegations Of Unnecessary Lab Tests

Three Office Staff Members Blow Whistle

During 2020 fiscal year alone, $1.8 billion of the $2.2 billion recovered by the government from companies defrauding the government came from the healthcare field.  During that same year, $1.6 billion of the total settlements arose from lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act where private individuals are authorized to bring whistleblower suits (known as qui tam cases).  False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq., Those individuals received a collective payout of $309 million during fiscal year 2020 as rewards for their efforts.  The defendants included pharmaceutical companies, medical device makers, clinics, labs, hospitals, nursing homes, therapy providers, and physician groups.  Private parties bringing these qui tam suits are referred to as “relators” commonly known as whistleblowers, who recover anywhere from 15% to 30% of the damages and penalties or settlement once the government recovers. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d).  If you have credible information of fraud against the government in Contra Costa County, San Francisco, or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669 and we can help. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Recent Settlement

The DOJ recently announced a settlement with a hospital chain[1]  resolving allegations that for a period of six years, the hospital knowingly submitted false payment claims to the federal government and billed for medically unnecessary treatments. A hematologist-oncologist who ran a cancer treatment clinic in the hospital allegedly misdiagnosed or poisoned with cancer treatment more than 550 patients across seven locations through his practice. In 2016, more than three dozen patients won an $8 million settlement in a malpractice suit against the doctor, which involved one of defendant’s hospitals and two other providers. The doctor is serving a 45-year sentence in federal prison. According to the allegations in the qui tam case that followed the malpractice and criminal cases, the hospital knowingly submitted false claims for payment to federal health care programs and improperly retained payment for professional and facility fees related to medically unnecessary radical hysterectomies that the doctor performed, chemotherapy services that the doctor administered or ordered that were not medically necessary, and evaluation and management services by the doctor that were not performed or not rendered as represented. The claims resolved by the settlement were allegations only, and there was no determination of liability.

Fighting Against Employer Retaliation

Three former office staff members of the physician’s practice brought the qui tam case after they began to notice that unnecessary lab tests were being performed and that patients and the government were being billed for these services.  The False Claims Act protects employees against retaliation from their employers for blowing the whistle on fraud against the government. 31 U.S.C. § 3730 (h).  Despite the legal prohibition employers continue to retaliate against whistleblowers.  The law, however, allows employee whistleblowers to fight back. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h).  If you are fired because you brought any fraud to light, you may be entitled to sue your employer in court  and seek double back pay (with interest), reinstatement, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and reimbursement for certain costs in connection with the litigation. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h)(2). Evans Law Firm, Inc. can represent you in any action for retaliation as well as represent you in your underlying whistleblower application.

Contact Us

If you have credible information of healthcare fraud in Contra Costa County, San Francisco or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at (415) 441-8669, or toll-free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267) or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>.  In addition to FCA whistleblower cases, Ingrid also handles bank fraud whistleblower cases under FIRREA/FIAFEA, commodity trading and securities fraud under the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program and the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, and tax fraud under the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program. 

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.  The qui tam case is captioned United States ex rel. Satchwell v. Ascension Health, No. 17-CV-12315 (E.D. Mich.). Relators will receive a combined payment in the amount $532,000.

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