Articles Posted in Healthcare fraud

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Biotronik allegedly paid doctors illegal kickbacks to promote the sale of its implantiStock-1182459087-1-300x210able cardiac devices.

Medical device manufacturer Biotronik has agreed to pay $12.95 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act through payment of illegal kickbacks to physicians as part of an effort to market and promote its implantable cardiac devices, including pacemakers and defibrillators. Two former sales executives of the company who exposed the fraud by filing a qui tam lawsuit will share a whistleblower award of $1.25 million.

A multi-pronged kickback scheme

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Athenahealth allegedly violated the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and False Claims Act by paying kickbacks for clients referrals.

Electronic Health Records -- Reading patient report on digital tablet

Healthcare technology firm Athenahealth has agreed to pay $18.25 million to settle allegations it violated the False Claims Act by paying illegal kickbacks for client referrals as part of initiatives to promote its Electronic Health Records platform athenaClinicals. Two qui tam relators whose whistleblower complaints exposed the fraud stand to receive significant whistleblower rewards.

Three illegal “marketing” initiatives

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Management pressured staff to inflate Medicare reimbursements by “upcoding” and “ramping.”

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that arrangements with a third-party litigation funder did not deprive a whistleblower of legal “standing” to pursue her claims under the False Claims Act.  It also upheld a $255 million jury verdict for Medicare fraud against the two Florida skilled nursing facilities where the whistleblower worked and the management firms that ran them.

The court’s decision in Ruckh v. Salus Rehabilitation counts as a significant victory for whistleblowers.  Healthcare industry defense lawyers are fretting about its potential consequences.