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May 28, 2024 by |

San Francisco False Claims Act Whistleblower Attorney: Marketers And Physicians In Multiple States To Pay $1.5 Million To Settle Kickback Allegations

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Kickbacks Allegedly Disguised As Consulting Fees

Marketers And Physicians Settle Allegations

How Qui Tam Cases Work

Healthcare providers in the U.S., including hospitals and clinics, are subject to a number of statutes to prevent any fraudulent billing under government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  One important such law is the Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b, which prohibits kickbacks to physicians for patient referrals for services covered by Medicare and Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal in California).   When the providers violate the Anti-Kickback Statute or certain other federal healthcare laws, they also violate the False Claims Act (“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733, for submitting false claims for payment to the government.  One of the underlying protections against fraud in the healthcare field is Individuals with information about this kind of scheme can be rewarded for bringing this kind of illegal practice to light.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(b).  The California whistleblower attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represents individuals who bring FCA cases based for any kind of fraud against Medicare or Medicaid or other government-sponsored healthcare programs.  If you have credible, original information of healthcare fraud, call us today at (415)441-8669 or toll-free at (888)-50EVANS (503-8267) and we can help.

Anti-Kickback Case Settlement

According to a recent U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release,[1]  two medical testing laboratory marketers as well as five physicians from around the country and certain affiliated entities have agreed to pay a total of $1,501,162 to resolve alleged False Claims Act violations arising from their involvement in laboratory kickback schemes. The parties have agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigations of other participants in the alleged schemes.  In the case, the government had alleged that the marketers disguised referral kickbacks as consulting fees or medical directorship positions and that certain named physicians accepted such allegedly disguised kickbacks.

“Kickbacks can harm taxpayer-funded healthcare programs, distort the market for healthcare services and improperly influence healthcare providers’ medical decisions,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will continue to pursue those involved in illegal kickback schemes, including marketers, doctors and medical practices.”

The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by Medicare and other federally funded healthcare programs. The settlements announced by the DOJ resolve allegations that laboratory marketers and their companies paid or conspired to pay kickbacks to doctors, and that doctors and their companies received kickbacks in return for laboratory referrals. The alleged kickbacks resulted in the submission of false or fraudulent laboratory testing claims to Medicare in violation of the False Claims Act.

How False Claims Act Whistleblower Cases Work

Cases such as this one are often initiated under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the FCA. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b). The FCA allows private parties to sue on behalf of the government for false claims, and to receive a share of any recovery. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b) (procedures for initiating qui tam actions).  The suit is filed confidentially and remains under seal giving the government time to review the allegations in the case.  If the government decides to intervene, the government essentially takes over the case.  If the government declines to intervene, the plaintiff has the right to continue the suit of their own. The whistleblowers stand to receive up to 15-30% of the settlement in accordance with 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)(1) and (2).

Contact Us

If you have information of healthcare fraud against the federal government or the State of California occurring here in San Francisco or elsewhere in the State, contact Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or toll-free at (888)-50EVANS (503-8267) or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>.   In addition to False Claims cases, Ingrid also represents individual whistleblowers in qui tam cases involving bank fraud 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.

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