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November 16, 2020

Seattle’s Group Health Cooperative, now part of Kaiser, will pay $6.375 million to settle allegations in a whistleblower suit that it falsely reported unsupported diagnosis codes to Medicare in order to receive inflated payments.  The suit alleges that GHC utilized the services of a coding review company, DxID, that proposed unsupported diagnosis codes, which GHC knowingly submitted to CMS as part of seeking higher payment for the affected Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.  Whistleblower Teresa Ross, represented by Constantine Cannon, will receive approximately $1.5 million.  DOJ

April 12, 2019

California-based Sutter Health LLC and its affiliated medical foundations will pay $30 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that they submitted unsupported diagnosis codes for certain patients, thereby inflating the the risk scores for those patients.  These inflated risk scores increased Medicare Advantage payments to Medicare Advantage Organizations with whom Sutter contracted.  Sutter's contracts with the MAOs gave Sutter a share of those improper increased payments.  DOJ; USAO ND Cal

October 1, 2018

HealthCare Partners Holdings LLC, a DaVita entity, will pay $270 million to settle allegations arising from DaVita's collection and submission of diagnosis data for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries to whom DaVita provided healthcare services.  HealthCare Partners, an independent physician association, allegedly instituted practices that caused the submission of incorrect diagnosis codes - diagnosis codes that increased payments from CMS to the MAOs, and then from the MAOs to DaVita/HealthCare Partners.  DaVita had voluntarily disclosed some practices, including improper medical coding guidance provided to physicians.  In addition, a whistleblower, James Swoben, alleged in a False Claims Act qui tam case that HealthCare Partners had engaged in improper "one-way chart reviews," which added diagnosis codes identified from the review of patient charts, but did not delete previously-submitted diagnosis codes that were not supported by the patient charts. Swoben will receive a whistleblower reward of $10,199,100. DOJ

May 30, 2017

Florida-based managed care service provider Freedom Health Inc. agreed to pay roughly $32 million to settle charges it violated the False Claims Act by engaging in illegal schemes to maximize its Medicare Advantage plan payments from the government.  The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act by former Freedom Health employee and Constantine Cannon client Darren D. Sewell.  He will receive a yet-to-be-determine whistleblower award from the proceeds of the government's recovery.  Whistleblower Insider

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