In late 2011, Kristi Beeson was working as a laboratory technician at Rose Cancer Clinic in Mississippi, but had a bad feeling that something was not quite right. In a short time, she had witnessed numerous fraudulent practices at the clinic, including unqualified technicians performing bone marrow biopsies, using one dose of chemotherapy drugs for multiple patients, and doctoring patient records to conceal the clinic’s Medicare billings for services not performed.
The doctor in charge of the practice, Dr. Meera Sachdeva, asked Ms. Beeson and other employees to participate in much of this wrongdoing. Ms. Beeson refused to go along and reported it to the government through its Medicare fraud hotline. This caused the government to open a criminal investigation, raid the clinic, and ultimately shut it down, charging Dr. Sachdeva, two nurses, and the office billing manager with health care fraud. Dr. Sachdeva pled guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Dr. Sachdeva also had to forfeit nearly $5.7 million of her ill-gotten gains. The government paid roughly $500,000 out of the criminal proceeds to Ms. Beeson and three other whistleblowers who were involved in reporting the fraud.
Marlene Koury said that “Ms. Beeson’s involvement in bringing this fraud to light demonstrates the critical role whistleblowers play in helping the government root out healthcare fraud. But for the courage of Ms. Beeson stepping forward, this outrageous conduct likely would have gone on for years, with Dr. Sachdeva taking advantage of people during the most vulnerable time of their lives.”
In discussing the case, Jonathan Barrett said that “Ms. Beeson did the right thing; she witnessed the terrible, fraudulent activities her employer, Dr. Sachdeva, was committing and she had the courage to come forward and expose Dr. Sachdeva and the others involved, so that they would be held accountable. It was an honor to represent her during this process.”
And Patrick Barrett stated “by providing a recovery to the private insurers who were also defrauded by Rose Cancer Center, this case illustrates how honest businesses also can benefit from cases filed by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act.”
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