January 28, 2021
Electronic health records vendor athenahealth Inc.
will pay $18.25 million
to resolve claims brought in two separate whistleblower actions alleging that certain Athena marketing programs provided unlawful remuneration to healthcare providers and others to induce providers to purchase Athena’s EHR systems. Remuneration to current and prospective customers included all-expenses paid trips to sporting, entertainment, and recreational events, as well as cash payments to customers who referred others to Athena. In addition, Athena paid other EHR vendors who referred clients to Athena when they were discontinuing their own EHR products and services. The kickbacks allegedly improperly generated sales for Athena while causing healthcare providers to submit false claims to the federal government for incentive payments related to the adoption and “meaningful use” of Athena’s EHR technology. The whistleblowers, Geordie Sanborn, Cheryl Lovell, and William McKusick
, will receive a share of the total settlement that remains to be determined. DOJ
; USAO Mass