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Risk Adjustment Fraud

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Federal Audit Reveals Billions of Dollars in Medicare Advantage Overpayments

Posted  12/20/19
A new government report reveals what whistleblowers and their counsel have known for some time: the Medicare Advantage program is vulnerable to fraud committed by unscrupulous private health insurance companies, as well as their owners, vendors, affiliates, and even some doctors.  These bad actors make patients enrolled in MA plans appear sicker than they actually are in order to increase their corporate profits. ...

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

Sutter Health, LLC – Medicare Advantage Risk Adjustment Fraud (Case Intervention)

Constantine Cannon represents the whistleblower, Kathy Ormsby, in False Claims Act litigation against Sutter Health and its affiliates including the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, where Ms. Ormsby worked as a Risk Adjustment Factor Project Manager and Coding Manager.  The Sutter Health defendants allegedly inflated the number and severity of Medicare Advantage patient diagnoses, manipulated patient records, ignored audit “red flags,” and engaged in other misconduct in order to increase patient risk scores and obtain Medicare Advantage payments to which they were not entitled. The United States filed a complaint in intervention in March, 2019, and the case continues to be actively litigated.  SeeGovernment Complaint in Intervention; Ormsby First Amended Complaint; DOJ Press Release

New Yorker Article on Whistleblowers Features Constantine Cannon

Posted  01/28/19
Silver whistle hanging on cord in front of chalkboard
In an article titled “The Personal Toll of Whistle-Blowing” published in the February 4, 2019, New Yorker magazine, Sheelah Kolhatkar describes the cases of two Constantine Cannon whistleblower clients, and features whistleblower attorney Mary Inman.  Focusing on False Claims Act cases involving fraud in the Medicare Advantage program, the article details how the FCA “effectively turned average citizens into a...

January 28, 2019

Partner Mary Inman and Constantine Cannon clients David Sewell & Benjamin Poehling featured in the New Yorker article, The Personal Toll of Whistle-Blowing.  Click here to read the article.

Top Ten Healthcare Recoveries of 2018

Posted  01/15/19
Consistent with the trend in prior years, the bulk of the Justice Department’s fraud and false claims recoveries in 2018 stemmed from healthcare fraud matters. And again, most of the funds recovered arose from cases originated by whistleblowers under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Here are the top ten healthcare recoveries of 2018 by the numbers:
    1. Amerisource Bergen Corporation - In...

Watch: “Taking Advantage” Highlights Medicare Risk Adjustment Fraud

Posted  11/2/18
Constantine Cannon partner Mary Inman and two Constantine Cannon whistleblower clients are featured in Episode 3 of the PBS series “Playing by the Rules: Ethics at Work.” The episode investigates ”risk adjustment” in the Medicare Advantage program and practices by some of America’s largest insurance companies to make patients look sicker than they really are-which boosts payments to the insurance companies...

Overpayment Rule Decision Doesn't Imperil Risk Adjustment Cases: Mary Inman and Max Voldman in RAC Monitor

Posted  10/19/18
Dollars for Medicare
On September 7, a federal district court in Washington, D.C. vacated a single Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regulation – the 2014 “overpayment rule.”  As Constantine Cannon whistleblower attorneys Mary Inman and Max Voldman write in RAC Monitor, many Medicare Advantage Organizations have since made bold statements about the significance of this decision and its impact on the series of False Claims...

Despite MAOs’ Claims, Recent Decision Doesn’t Imperil DOJ and Whistleblower Risk Adjustment Fraud Cases

Posted  10/17/18
CC Attorneys Mary Inman, Max Voldman
Whistleblower attorneys Mary Inman and Max Voldman published in RAC Monitor (Oct. 17, 2018).  Click here to read the article.

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

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