United States Settles False Claims Act Suit against Guardian Hospice — Guardian and related entities agreed to pay $3 million to resolve allegations that Guardian knowingly submitted false claims to the Medicare program for hospice patients who were not terminally ill. The case was initiated by whistleblowers Rose Betts and Jennifer Williams, former employees of Guardian, who will receive approximately $510,000 of the $3 million settlement. DOJ
Home Health Agency Agrees to $16 million judgment — Nurses’ Registry and Home Health Corporation and the estate of its former owner have agreed to the entry of a judgment against them for $16,000,000 to resolve allegations of widespread healthcare fraud first made in a whistleblower case alleging that Nurses’ Registry fraudulently billed Medicare for medically unnecessary home health services, as well as services tainted by kickbacks provided by the company and its owner to local physicians and others who referred patients to Nurses’ Registry. Nurses’ Registry and its owner regularly delivered bottles of liquor and other enticements to referral sources and provided tickets to athletic events and concerts. This practice was so commonplace that physicians would contact the home health agency to ask for tickets to popular events, such as Taylor Swift concerts or the Kentucky Derby. The whistleblowers, former employees Alisia Robinson-Hill and David Price, will receive between 15 and 20 percent of the settlement proceeds. DOJ
SEC Charges Bristol-Myers Squibb With FCPA Violations — Pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to pay more than $14 million to settle charges that its joint venture in China made cash payments and provided other benefits to health care providers at state-owned and state-controlled hospitals in exchange for prescription sales. SEC
Operator of $228 Million Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme Sentenced to Prison — Duffy R. Dashner, aka Kevin Dashner, of Reseda, California, was sentenced to serve 57 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,769,418 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), following his guilty plea for conspiring to submit false claims. DOJ
Bill targets VA whistle-blower retaliation — Two GOP senators have introduced legislation to halt retaliation against whistleblowers at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Other provisions of the bill include allowing for the removal or demotion of an agency head who retaliates against a whistleblower, and providing training to supervisors on how to respond to whistle-blowers’ complaints. The Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act is named in honor of a psychologist at a VA medical center, who committed suicide after he was fired for questioning the over-medication of patients. The Hill
Former aides sue Michigan reps for wrongful termination and violation of whistle-blower protection laws — Michigan state representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat entered the national limelight last month when it became public that they had tried to conceal an affair in part by spreading anonymous rumors regarding substance abuse and prostitution patronage by Rep. Courser, in a misguided effort to minimize the anticipated outcry regarding his infidelity. Now, two former aides have brought an action alleging that they were fired because they refused to engage in a cover-up of the affair, including sending out an anonymous e-mail authored by Courser. Detroit Free Press
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