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Constantine Cannon Whistleblower Practice Group 2021 Roundup: Another Banner Year

Posted  04/21/22
Whistleblower Rewards
2021 was another banner year for Constantine Cannon’s whistleblower practice group, with three historic whistleblower successes, including the first-ever award under the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act. This string of successes follows the firm's record-shattering 2020 year where our whistleblower team secured blockbuster settlements that recovered more than $600 million for the government and roughly $115...

April 13, 2022

A number of anesthesia entities owned and operated by Care Plus Management, LLC (Care Plus), which itself is owned and operated by doctors Paul D. Weir and John R. Morgan, have agreed to pay $7.2 million to resolve allegations of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act.  A qui tam suit by whistleblower Robert Douglas had alleged that between 2012 and 2016, Care Plus entered into illegal revenue-sharing arrangements with physicians in exchange for patient referrals.  For his contributions to a successful enforcement action, Douglas will receive a $1.3 million share of the settlement.  USAO NDGA

April 12, 2022

Providence Health & Services Washington has agreed to pay $22.7 million to settle allegations of submitting false claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE.  According to an unnamed whistleblower, who will receive a $4.2 million relator’s share, the hospital allegedly gave their neurosurgeons volume-based financial incentives to perform complex surgeries, thereby incentivizing two neurosurgeons to perform an excessive number of complex surgeries on inappropriate candidates without regard to medical necessity or patient safety, and ultimately causing an excessive level of complications.  USAO EDWA

April 12, 2022

Physician Partners of America LLC (PPOA), its founder Rodolfo Gari, and its former chief medical officer Dr. Abraham Rivera, have agreed to pay $24.5 million to settle allegations of violating the Stark Law, False Claims Act, and Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA).  The settlement resolved claims by whistleblowers Donald Haight, Dawn Baker, Dr. Harold Cho, Dr. Venus Dookwah-Roberts, and Dr. Michael Lupi, all currently or formerly employed with PPOA.  According to the whistleblowers and the government, PPOA allegedly billed Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary testing, paid illegal kickbacks to its physician employees, and made false statements on a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program.  USAO MDFL

April 6, 2022

Florida hospital chain BayCare Health System Inc. will pay $20 million to resolve claims that the company knowingly caused false claims for federal Medicaid matching funds to be submitted to the United States by making improper, non-bona fide cash donations to the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB) knowing that the funds would be transferred by JWB to the State of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration for Florida’s Medicaid Program, which would trigger a corresponding federal matching payment.  The prohibition on non-bona fide donations ensures that states are paying a share of Medicaid payments; the non-bona fide donations increased Medicaid payments received by BayCare without any actual expenditure of state or local funds and enabled BayCare to recoup its original donations to JWB and also receive federal matching funds. The case was initiated with a qui tam complaint filed by Larry Bomar, who will receive $5 million as an award for initiating the whistleblower action. DOJ; MD FL

March 30, 2022

Multiple sales representatives of Delaware-based pharmacy, Heritage Therapeutics, LLC have been ordered to forfeit and/or pay fines totaling over $8.7 million after they were found to have paid kickbacks to physicians in exchange for prescribing expensive compounded medications to TRICARE beneficiaries.  Additionally, Heritage and various executives have entered into a settlement agreement to resolve claims under the Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act.  USAO EDPA

March 28, 2022

A Pennsylvania-based psychiatrist and his wife have agreed to pay $3 million in the largest recovery against a single psychiatrist ever in the history of the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs (OWCP).  From 2013 to 2021, Dr. Harry Doyle and his wife and sole employee, Sonya, allegedly billed OWCP for services that weren’t rendered, submitted double-billed and upcoded patient claims, and falsified patient records to reflect their false billing.  As part of the settlement, they will be excluded from participating in federal healthcare programs for 25 years.  USAO EDPA

March 25, 2022

A Department of Energy contractor that applied for and received a $1.3 million Paycheck Protection Program loan has, together with its owners, agreed to pay nearly $3 million in restitution and penalties to resolve their liability under the False Claims Act.  HPM Corporation and owners Holly and Grover Cleveland Mooers admitted that they submitted materially false statements to the Small Business Administration in order to obtain the loan and induce a forgiveness of the loan.  However, instead of using the funds on payroll, as they had represented, they transferred the entire amount to their personal account.  USAO EDWA

March 25, 2022

Two New York-based home health agencies, All American Homecare Agency and Crown of Life Care NY LLC, have agreed to pay a total of $5.4 million to settle allegations of violating federal and state False Claims Acts.  The agencies had allegedly paid their home health aides below minimum wage, despite claiming otherwise and receiving millions for said wages from Medicaid.  In addition to the monetary penalties, the agencies will also pay back wages owed to current and former aides.  NY AG; USAO EDNY

March 22, 2022

Ten doctors in Texas and a healthcare executive have agreed to pay nearly $1.7 million to resolve allegations of violating the False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute, and Stark Law.  In exchange for ordering laboratory tests from Rockdale Hospital d/b/a A little River Healthcare, True Health Diagnostics LLC, and Boston Heart Diagnostics Corporation, the doctors allegedly received thousands of dollars in kickbacks disguised as investment returns.  USAO EDTX
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