Follow These Steps If You Receive an OIG Subpoena from the DOH

Attorney & Author HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issues investigative subpoenas through the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). This agency investigates allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse against Medicare, Medicaid, and other federally funded healthcare programs. These subpoenas are very broad, usually requiring the production of thousands of pages of documents. Click here to see a sample of a subpoena duces tecum issued by the OIG.

Immediate Action to Take If the OIG Issues a Subpoena.

Immediately review the subpoena in detail to see what it requests and from whom. A subpoena may be issued to or served on the wrong person or organization. If so, have your attorney contact the issuer and attempt to resolve the matter. Document everything in writing. Whatever you do, do not ignore it.

A review of the requested documents will give you and your experienced healthcare attorney an idea of what type of case is being investigated by the OIG. That is one reason that it is important to immediately retain the services of a healthcare attorney experienced in responding to such subpoenas and dealing with the OIG’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Many Different Scenarios Can Lead to Investigations and Subpoenas.

If someone has filed a False Claims Act (FCA) complaint or lawsuit, also known as a whistleblower or qui tam suit, this may be why the OIG is investigating. Suspicion of violating Medicare and Medicaid participation rules, including the Conditions of Participation or the Conditions for Payment (Federal Regulations), can also lead to investigations and subpoenas. If you have committed violations of program requirements such that the government can seek Civil Monetary Penalties, this may give rise to such investigation. If you are suspected of Medicare fraud, including upcoding or billing for medically unnecessary supplies or services, this may lead to an investigation. A patient complaint about not receiving services or equipment billed to Medicare is a surefire way to investigate. Regardless, the matter is serious, so you should retain experienced health care counsel.

Follow These Helpful Steps to Ease the Process:

1. Immediately review the subpoena to ensure you know the expected delivery date of the requested documents. Be sure to respond in writing via a reliable courier or another method of tracking your sending of the documents and their receipt.

2. Immediately retain the services of an experienced healthcare attorney to start dealing with the OIG or the U.S. Attorney’s Office involved in the case.

3. Immediately start assembling the requested documents in the subpoena so they may be reviewed by your attorney before they are organized, labeled, numbered, and produced. This will take longer than you think.

4. Request an extension of time to respond, if needed, before the due date for the production of the documents. These are routinely given, especially for large document productions. Document the extension of time in writing.

5. Completely read the instructions given in the subpoena regarding how documents produced are to be organized, page-numbered, labeled, copied, and delivered. It is essential to produce them this way.

6. If documents are archived, in storage, require the reinstallation of old software to reproduce, or otherwise will take a long time to produce, you may request a “rolling production.” This is an agreement to produce the documents as you obtain them.

7. In reviewing the documents, attempt to determine precisely what the OIG and U.S. Attorney may be investigating. This will afford you time to begin preparation for your defense and will allow you to request a modification of what it is necessary to produce in many instances.

8. It is preferable for you not to personally communicate with OIG special agents, FBI agents, other investigators, or attorneys working for the OIG or U.S. Attorney’s Office. Anything you say to them, orally or in writing, can be used against you in the case. Also, any incorrect or false information you provide, orally or in writing, can result in a felony charge under 18 U.S.C. Sect. 1001. Have your attorney do all communication.

9. Remember, you do not have to produce any documents in your custody. Likewise, you do not have to create documents to produce.

10. Never alter, destroy, or create documents for which the subpoena is issued after you have received the subpoena. Consider all documents to be “frozen” in time. Also, immediately notify whoever is in charge of your document retention or document destruction program (if you have one) to ensure no further documents are destroyed or deleted.

11. If you do not have a document destruction program for obsolete documents as you read this, you need to create one (subject to number 10 immediately above). Make sure it addresses e-mails, electronically stored documents, and paper copies. Do not keep any documents for longer than you are required to keep them by law (including Federal Regulations).

12. Provide an explanation for any documents or categories of records that you should have but were destroyed by natural disasters, fires, etc. Include documentation (fire department, police report, insurance company appraisal, etc.) that shows this. Do not ever lie or exaggerate it.

For additional information, read one of our recent blogs on preparing for a healthcare audit request.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Medicaid and Medicare Audits.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers, home health agencies, nursing homes, and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits, and recovery actions.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Steps to Take If You Receive an OIG Subpoena from the DOH

Attorney & Author HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issues investigative subpoenas through the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). This agency investigates allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse against Medicare, Medicaid, and other federally funded healthcare programs. These subpoenas are very broad, usually requiring the production of thousands of pages of documents. Click here to see a sample of a subpoena duces tecum issued by the OIG.

Immediate Action to Take If the OIG Issues a Subpoena.

Immediately review the subpoena in detail to see what it requests and from whom. A subpoena may be issued to or served on the wrong person or organization. If so, have your attorney contact the issuer and attempt to resolve the matter. Document everything in writing. Whatever you do, do not ignore it.

A review of the requested documents will give you and your experienced healthcare attorney an idea of what type of case is being investigated by the OIG. That is one reason that it is important to immediately retain the services of a healthcare attorney experienced in responding to such subpoenas and dealing with the OIG’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Many Different Scenarios Can Lead to Investigations and Subpoenas.

If someone has filed a False Claims Act (FCA) complaint or lawsuit, also known as a whistleblower or qui tam suit, this may be why the OIG is investigating. Suspicion of violating Medicare and Medicaid participation rules, including the Conditions of Participation or the Conditions for Payment (Federal Regulations), can also lead to investigations and subpoenas. If you have committed violations of program requirements such that the government can seek Civil Monetary Penalties, this may give rise to such investigation. If you are suspected of Medicare fraud, including upcoding or billing for medically unnecessary supplies or services, this may lead to an investigation. A patient complaint about not receiving services or equipment billed to Medicare is a surefire way to investigate. Regardless, the matter is serious, so you should retain experienced health care counsel.

Follow These Helpful Steps to Ease the Process:

1. Immediately review the subpoena to ensure you know the expected delivery date of the requested documents. Be sure to respond in writing via a reliable courier or another method of tracking your sending of the documents and their receipt.

2. Immediately retain the services of an experienced healthcare attorney to start dealing with the OIG or the U.S. Attorney’s Office involved in the case.

3. Immediately start assembling the requested documents in the subpoena so they may be reviewed by your attorney before they are organized, labeled, numbered, and produced. This will take longer than you think.

4. Request an extension of time to respond, if needed, before the due date for the production of the documents. These are routinely given, especially for large document productions. Document the extension of time in writing.

5. Completely read the instructions given in the subpoena regarding how documents produced are to be organized, page-numbered, labeled, copied, and delivered. It is essential to produce them this way.

6. If documents are archived, in storage, require the reinstallation of old software to reproduce, or otherwise will take a long time to produce, you may request a “rolling production.” This is an agreement to produce the documents as you obtain them.

7. In reviewing the documents, attempt to determine precisely what the OIG and U.S. Attorney may be investigating. This will afford you time to begin preparation for your defense and will allow you to request a modification of what it is necessary to produce in many instances.

8. It is preferable for you not to personally communicate with OIG special agents, FBI agents, other investigators, or attorneys working for the OIG or U.S. Attorney’s Office. Anything you say to them, orally or in writing, can be used against you in the case. Also, any incorrect or false information you provide, orally or in writing, can result in a felony charge under 18 U.S.C. Sect. 1001. Have your attorney do all communication.

9. Remember, you do not have to produce any documents in your custody. Likewise, you do not have to create documents to produce.

10. Never alter, destroy, or create documents for which the subpoena is issued after you have received the subpoena. Consider all documents to be “frozen” in time. Also, immediately notify whoever is in charge of your document retention or document destruction program (if you have one) to ensure no further documents are destroyed or deleted.

11. If you do not have a document destruction program for obsolete documents as you read this, you need to create one (subject to number 10 immediately above). Make sure it addresses e-mails, electronically stored documents, and paper copies. Do not keep any documents for longer than you are required to keep them by law (including Federal Regulations).

12. Provide an explanation for any documents or categories of records that you should have but were destroyed by natural disasters, fires, etc. Include documentation (fire department, police report, insurance company appraisal, etc.) that shows this. Do not ever lie or exaggerate it.

For additional information, read one of our recent blogs on preparing for a healthcare audit request.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Medicaid and Medicare Audits.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers, home health agencies, nursing homes, and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits, and recovery actions.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Steps to Take If You Receive an OIG Subpoena from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Attorney & Author HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issues investigative subpoenas through the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). This agency investigates allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse against Medicare, Medicaid, and other federally funded healthcare programs. These subpoenas are very broad, usually requiring the production of thousands of pages of documents. Click here to see a sample of a subpoena duces tecum issued by the OIG.

Immediate Action to Take If the OIG Issues a Subpoena.

Immediately review the subpoena in detail to see what it requests and from whom. A subpoena may be issued to or served on the wrong person or organization. If so, have your attorney contact the issuer and attempt to resolve the matter. Document everything in writing. Whatever you do, do not ignore it.

A review of the requested documents will give you and your experienced healthcare attorney an idea of what type of case is being investigated by the OIG. That is one reason that it is important to immediately retain the services of a healthcare attorney experienced in responding to such subpoenas and dealing with the OIG’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Many Different Scenarios Can Lead to Investigations and Subpoenas.

If someone has filed a False Claims Act (FCA) complaint or lawsuit, also known as a whistleblower or qui tam suit, this may be why the OIG is investigating. Suspicion of violating Medicare and Medicaid participation rules, including the Conditions of Participation or the Conditions for Payment (Federal Regulations), can also lead to investigations and subpoenas. If you have committed violations of program requirements such that the government can seek Civil Monetary Penalties, this may give rise to such investigation. If you are suspected of Medicare fraud, including upcoding or billing for medically unnecessary supplies or services, this may lead to an investigation. A patient complaint about not receiving services or equipment billed to Medicare is a surefire way to investigate. Regardless, the matter is serious, so you should retain experienced health care counsel.

Follow These Helpful Steps to Ease the Process:

1. Immediately review the subpoena to ensure you know the expected delivery date of the requested documents. Be sure to respond in writing via a reliable courier or another method of tracking your sending of the documents and their receipt.

2. Immediately retain the services of an experienced healthcare attorney to start dealing with the OIG or the U.S. Attorney’s Office involved in the case.

3. Immediately start assembling the requested documents in the subpoena so they may be reviewed by your attorney before they are organized, labeled, numbered, and produced. This will take longer than you think.

4. Request an extension of time to respond, if needed, before the due date for the production of the documents. These are routinely given, especially for large document productions. Document the extension of time in writing.

5. Completely read the instructions given in the subpoena regarding how documents produced are to be organized, page-numbered, labeled, copied, and delivered. It is essential to produce them this way.

6. If documents are archived, in storage, require the reinstallation of old software to reproduce, or otherwise will take a long time to produce, you may request a “rolling production.” This is an agreement to produce the documents as you obtain them.

7. In reviewing the documents, attempt to determine precisely what the OIG and U.S. Attorney may be investigating. This will afford you time to begin preparation for your defense and will allow you to request a modification of what it is necessary to produce in many instances.

8. It is preferable for you not to personally communicate with OIG special agents, FBI agents, other investigators, or attorneys working for the OIG or U.S. Attorney’s Office. Anything you say to them, orally or in writing, can be used against you in the case. Also, any incorrect or false information you provide, orally or in writing, can result in a felony charge under 18 U.S.C. Sect. 1001. Have your attorney do all communication.

9. Remember, you do not have to produce any documents in your custody. Likewise, you do not have to create documents to produce.

10. Never alter, destroy, or create documents for which the subpoena is issued after you have received the subpoena. Consider all documents to be “frozen” in time. Also, immediately notify whoever is in charge of your document retention or document destruction program (if you have one) to ensure no further documents are destroyed or deleted.

11. If you do not have a document destruction program for obsolete documents as you read this, you need to create one (subject to number 10 immediately above). Make sure it addresses e-mails, electronically stored documents, and paper copies. Do not keep any documents for longer than you are required to keep them by law (including Federal Regulations).

12. Provide an explanation for any documents or categories of records that you should have but were destroyed by natural disasters, fires, etc. Include documentation (fire department, police report, insurance company appraisal, etc.) that shows this. Do not ever lie or exaggerate it.

For additional information, read one of our recent blogs on preparing for a healthcare audit request.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Medicaid and Medicare Audits.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers, home health agencies, nursing homes, and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits, and recovery actions.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Supreme Court Rules FCA Case Liability Requires Defendants’ Subjective Belief

Author and attorney headshot leaning with hands folded in frontBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On June 1, 2023, the Supreme Court handed down an opinion on the knowledge standard required in False Claims Act (FCA) cases in a precedential decision that leaves the whistleblower plaintiffs bar reeling. In a unanimous ruling, the high court said liability of defendants in FCA cases would be based on their own belief in the falsity of their claims, rather than an “objectively reasonable” interpretation of the law or regulation. This appears to set the age-old maxim of “ignorance of the law is no excuse” on its head. Now, apparently, a defendant can argue that he, she or it was ignorant of the law and win.

The case before the Supreme Court was consolidated from two lower court decisions in the cases United States ex rel. Schutte v. SuperValu Inc. and United States ex rel. Proctor v. Safeway.

When Subjective Belief is Relevant in FCA Cases.

In the cases which the Supreme Court decided, the whistleblowers accused SuperValu and Safeway of violating the FCA by overcharging Medicare, Medicaid, and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program for prescription drugs.

According to the rules of these programs, pharmacies cannot charge the government more than the “usual and customary” price for a drug, which is the cash price charged to the general public. The plaintiffs claimed that the pharmacies overbilled the government when they started offering discounted prices to consumers under a price-match program to compete with other pharmacies. They also offered a membership discount program but did not adjust their “usual and customary” prices, continuing to charge the government more than they should have.

The Lower Court’s Ruling.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in April 2022, that the pharmacies had submitted false claims by not reporting their discounted prices, which were the “usual and customary” prices. The appeals court also stated that the retailers had made reasonable interpretations of ambiguous laws without being warned against it by authoritative guidance. The circuit court referred to the Safeco standard from the Supreme Court’s 2007 Safeco Insurance Co. of America v. Burr case in its decision.

Click here to learn more about the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling.

The Seventh Circuit’s perspective was rejected by the Supreme Court, which instead focused on the defendant’s intentions when submitting false claims. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for a unanimous court stated, “What matters for an FCA case is whether the defendant knew the claim was false. Thus, if [the defendants] correctly interpreted the relevant phrase and believed their claims were false, they could have known their claims were false.” Read the opinion in full here.

Under this rationale, a defendant could successfully make the argument, “I didn’t know the claim was false and I never bothered to do anything to make sure of that fact.” Even objectively unreasonable claims, such as charging a million dollars for a drug which only cost one dollar, could be successfully defended.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Health Care Fraud Investigations and other Legal Proceedings.

The Health Law Firm represents healthcare providers in Medicare and Medicaid audits, and in RAC audits throughout Florida and across the U.S. We also represent health providers in civil and administrative litigation by government agencies and insurance companies attempting to recoup claims that have been paid.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, dentists, pharmacists, psychotherapists, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, assisted living facilities (ALFs), home health agencies, nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits and recovery actions.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Elberg, Jacob. “Supreme Court maintains focus on defendant’s subjective beliefs in False Claims Act cases.” SCOTUS Blog. (June 1, 2023). Web.

Wilson, Daniel. “Justices Say FCA Liability Hinges On Defendants’ Beliefs.” Law360. (June 1, 2023). Web.

Gaivin, Kathleen. “False Claims Act ruling by High Court a ‘clear win’ for government, expert says.” McKnights Senior Living. (June 2, 2023). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law; he is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Current Open Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm always seeks qualified individuals interested in health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a current member of The Florida Bar or a qualified professional who is interested, please forward a cover letter and resume to: [email protected] or fax them to (407) 331-3030.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2023. The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Supreme Court Rules FCA Case Liability Requires Defendants’ Subjective Belief

Author and attorney headshot leaning with hands folded in frontBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On June 1, 2023, the Supreme Court handed down an opinion on the knowledge standard required in False Claims Act (FCA) cases in a precedential decision that leaves the whistleblower plaintiffs bar reeling. In a unanimous ruling, the high court said liability of defendants in FCA cases would be based on their own belief in the falsity of their claims, rather than an “objectively reasonable” interpretation of the law or regulation. This appears to set the age-old maxim of “ignorance of the law is no excuse” on its head. Now, apparently, a defendant can argue that he, she or it was ignorant of the law and win.

The case before the Supreme Court was consolidated from two lower court decisions in the cases United States ex rel. Schutte v. SuperValu Inc. and United States ex rel. Proctor v. Safeway.

When Subjective Belief is Relevant in FCA Cases.

In the cases which the Supreme Court decided, the whistleblowers accused SuperValu and Safeway of violating the FCA by overcharging Medicare, Medicaid, and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program for prescription drugs.

According to the rules of these programs, pharmacies cannot charge the government more than the “usual and customary” price for a drug, which is the cash price charged to the general public. The plaintiffs claimed that the pharmacies overbilled the government when they started offering discounted prices to consumers under a price-match program to compete with other pharmacies. They also offered a membership discount program but did not adjust their “usual and customary” prices, continuing to charge the government more than they should have.

The Lower Court’s Ruling.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in April 2022, that the pharmacies had submitted false claims by not reporting their discounted prices, which were the “usual and customary” prices. The appeals court also stated that the retailers had made reasonable interpretations of ambiguous laws without being warned against it by authoritative guidance. The circuit court referred to the Safeco standard from the Supreme Court’s 2007 Safeco Insurance Co. of America v. Burr case in its decision.

Click here to learn more about the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling.

The Seventh Circuit’s perspective was rejected by the Supreme Court, which instead focused on the defendant’s intentions when submitting false claims. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for a unanimous court stated, “What matters for an FCA case is whether the defendant knew the claim was false. Thus, if [the defendants] correctly interpreted the relevant phrase and believed their claims were false, they could have known their claims were false.” Read the opinion in full here.

Under this rationale, a defendant could successfully make the argument, “I didn’t know the claim was false and I never bothered to do anything to make sure of that fact.” Even objectively unreasonable claims, such as charging a million dollars for a drug which only cost one dollar, could be successfully defended.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Health Care Fraud Investigations and other Legal Proceedings.

The Health Law Firm represents healthcare providers in Medicare and Medicaid audits, and in RAC audits throughout Florida and across the U.S. We also represent health providers in civil and administrative litigation by government agencies and insurance companies attempting to recoup claims that have been paid.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, dentists, pharmacists, psychotherapists, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, assisted living facilities (ALFs), home health agencies, nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits and recovery actions.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Elberg, Jacob. “Supreme Court maintains focus on defendant’s subjective beliefs in False Claims Act cases.” SCOTUS Blog. (June 1, 2023). Web.

Wilson, Daniel. “Justices Say FCA Liability Hinges On Defendants’ Beliefs.” Law360. (June 1, 2023). Web.

Gaivin, Kathleen. “False Claims Act ruling by High Court a ‘clear win’ for government, expert says.” McKnights Senior Living. (June 2, 2023). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law; he is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Current Open Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm always seeks qualified individuals interested in health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a current member of The Florida Bar or a qualified professional who is interested, please forward a cover letter and resume to: [email protected] or fax them to (407) 331-3030.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2023. The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Supreme Court Rules FCA Case Liability Requires Defendants’ Subjective Belief

Author and attorney headshot leaning with hands folded in frontBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On June 1, 2023, the Supreme Court handed down an opinion on the knowledge standard required in False Claims Act (FCA) cases in a precedential decision that leaves the whistleblower plaintiffs bar reeling. In a unanimous ruling, the high court said liability of defendants in FCA cases would be based on their own belief in the falsity of their claims, rather than an “objectively reasonable” interpretation of the law or regulation. This appears to set the age-old maxim of “ignorance of the law is no excuse” on its head. Now, apparently, a defendant can argue that he, she or it was ignorant of the law and win.

The case before the Supreme Court was consolidated from two lower court decisions in the cases United States ex rel. Schutte v. SuperValu Inc. and United States ex rel. Proctor v. Safeway.

When Subjective Belief is Relevant in FCA Cases.

In the cases which the Supreme Court decided, the whistleblowers accused SuperValu and Safeway of violating the FCA by overcharging Medicare, Medicaid, and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program for prescription drugs.

According to the rules of these programs, pharmacies cannot charge the government more than the “usual and customary” price for a drug, which is the cash price charged to the general public. The plaintiffs claimed that the pharmacies overbilled the government when they started offering discounted prices to consumers under a price-match program to compete with other pharmacies. They also offered a membership discount program but did not adjust their “usual and customary” prices, continuing to charge the government more than they should have.

The Lower Court’s Ruling.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in April 2022, that the pharmacies had submitted false claims by not reporting their discounted prices, which were the “usual and customary” prices. The appeals court also stated that the retailers had made reasonable interpretations of ambiguous laws without being warned against it by authoritative guidance. The circuit court referred to the Safeco standard from the Supreme Court’s 2007 Safeco Insurance Co. of America v. Burr case in its decision.

Click here to learn more about the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling.

The Seventh Circuit’s perspective was rejected by the Supreme Court, which instead focused on the defendant’s intentions when submitting false claims. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for a unanimous court stated, “What matters for an FCA case is whether the defendant knew the claim was false. Thus, if [the defendants] correctly interpreted the relevant phrase and believed their claims were false, they could have known their claims were false.” Read the opinion in full here.

Under this rationale, a defendant could successfully make the argument, “I didn’t know the claim was false and I never bothered to do anything to make sure of that fact.” Even objectively unreasonable claims, such as charging a million dollars for a drug which only cost one dollar, could be successfully defended.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Health Care Fraud Investigations and other Legal Proceedings.

The Health Law Firm represents healthcare providers in Medicare and Medicaid audits, and in RAC audits throughout Florida and across the U.S. We also represent health providers in civil and administrative litigation by government agencies and insurance companies attempting to recoup claims that have been paid.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, dentists, pharmacists, psychotherapists, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, assisted living facilities (ALFs), home health agencies, nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits and recovery actions.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Elberg, Jacob. “Supreme Court maintains focus on defendant’s subjective beliefs in False Claims Act cases.” SCOTUS Blog. (June 1, 2023). Web.

Wilson, Daniel. “Justices Say FCA Liability Hinges On Defendants’ Beliefs.” Law360. (June 1, 2023). Web.

Gaivin, Kathleen. “False Claims Act ruling by High Court a ‘clear win’ for government, expert says.” McKnights Senior Living. (June 2, 2023). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law; he is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Current Open Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm always seeks qualified individuals interested in health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a current member of The Florida Bar or a qualified professional who is interested, please forward a cover letter and resume to: [email protected] or fax them to (407) 331-3030.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2023. The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Supreme Court Rules FCA Case Liability Requires Defendants’ Subjective Belief

Author and attorney headshot leaning with hands folded in frontBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On June 1, 2023, the Supreme Court handed down an opinion on the knowledge standard required in False Claims Act (FCA) cases in a precedential decision that leaves the whistleblower plaintiffs bar reeling. In a unanimous ruling, the high court said liability of defendants in FCA cases would be based on their own belief in the falsity of their claims, rather than an “objectively reasonable” interpretation of the law or regulation. This appears to set the age-old maxim of “ignorance of the law is no excuse” on its head. Now, apparently, a defendant can argue that he, she or it was ignorant of the law and win.

The case before the Supreme Court was consolidated from two lower court decisions in the cases United States ex rel. Schutte v. SuperValu Inc. and United States ex rel. Proctor v. Safeway.

When Subjective Belief is Relevant in FCA Cases.

In the cases which the Supreme Court decided, the whistleblowers accused SuperValu and Safeway of violating the FCA by overcharging Medicare, Medicaid, and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program for prescription drugs.

According to the rules of these programs, pharmacies cannot charge the government more than the “usual and customary” price for a drug, which is the cash price charged to the general public. The plaintiffs claimed that the pharmacies overbilled the government when they started offering discounted prices to consumers under a price-match program to compete with other pharmacies. They also offered a membership discount program but did not adjust their “usual and customary” prices, continuing to charge the government more than they should have.

The Lower Court’s Ruling.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in April 2022, that the pharmacies had submitted false claims by not reporting their discounted prices, which were the “usual and customary” prices. The appeals court also stated that the retailers had made reasonable interpretations of ambiguous laws without being warned against it by authoritative guidance. The circuit court referred to the Safeco standard from the Supreme Court’s 2007 Safeco Insurance Co. of America v. Burr case in its decision.

Click here to learn more about the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling.

The Seventh Circuit’s perspective was rejected by the Supreme Court, which instead focused on the defendant’s intentions when submitting false claims. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for a unanimous court stated, “What matters for an FCA case is whether the defendant knew the claim was false. Thus, if [the defendants] correctly interpreted the relevant phrase and believed their claims were false, they could have known their claims were false.” Read the opinion in full here.

Under this rationale, a defendant could successfully make the argument, “I didn’t know the claim was false and I never bothered to do anything to make sure of that fact.” Even objectively unreasonable claims, such as charging a million dollars for a drug which only cost one dollar, could be successfully defended.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Health Care Fraud Investigations and other Legal Proceedings.

The Health Law Firm represents healthcare providers in Medicare and Medicaid audits, and in RAC audits throughout Florida and across the U.S. We also represent health providers in civil and administrative litigation by government agencies and insurance companies attempting to recoup claims that have been paid.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, dentists, pharmacists, psychotherapists, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, assisted living facilities (ALFs), home health agencies, nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits and recovery actions.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Elberg, Jacob. “Supreme Court maintains focus on defendant’s subjective beliefs in False Claims Act cases.” SCOTUS Blog. (June 1, 2023). Web.

Wilson, Daniel. “Justices Say FCA Liability Hinges On Defendants’ Beliefs.” Law360. (June 1, 2023). Web.

Gaivin, Kathleen. “False Claims Act ruling by High Court a ‘clear win’ for government, expert says.” McKnights Senior Living. (June 2, 2023). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law; he is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Current Open Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm always seeks qualified individuals interested in health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a current member of The Florida Bar or a qualified professional who is interested, please forward a cover letter and resume to: [email protected] or fax them to (407) 331-3030.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2023. The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Supreme Court Says FCA Case Liability Requires Defendants’ Subjective Belief

Author and attorney headshot leaning with hands folded in frontBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On June 1, 2023, the Supreme Court handed down an opinion on the knowledge standard required in False Claims Act (FCA) cases in a precedential decision that leaves the whistleblower plaintiffs bar reeling. In a unanimous ruling, the high court said liability of defendants in FCA cases would be based on their own belief in the falsity of their claims, rather than an “objectively reasonable” interpretation of the law or regulation. This appears to set the age-old maxim of “ignorance of the law is no excuse” on its head. Now, apparently, a defendant can argue that he, she or it was ignorant of the law and win.

The case before the Supreme Court was consolidated from two lower court decisions in the cases United States ex rel. Schutte v. SuperValu Inc. and United States ex rel. Proctor v. Safeway.

When Subjective Belief is Relevant in FCA Cases.

In the cases which the Supreme Court decided, the whistleblowers accused SuperValu and Safeway of violating the FCA by overcharging Medicare, Medicaid, and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program for prescription drugs.

According to the rules of these programs, pharmacies cannot charge the government more than the “usual and customary” price for a drug, which is the cash price charged to the general public. The plaintiffs claimed that the pharmacies overbilled the government when they started offering discounted prices to consumers under a price-match program to compete with other pharmacies. They also offered a membership discount program but did not adjust their “usual and customary” prices, continuing to charge the government more than they should have.

The Lower Court’s Ruling.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in April 2022, that the pharmacies had submitted false claims by not reporting their discounted prices, which were the “usual and customary” prices. The appeals court also stated that the retailers had made reasonable interpretations of ambiguous laws without being warned against it by authoritative guidance. The circuit court referred to the Safeco standard from the Supreme Court’s 2007 Safeco Insurance Co. of America v. Burr case in its decision.

Click here to learn more about the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling.

The Seventh Circuit’s perspective was rejected by the Supreme Court, which instead focused on the defendant’s intentions when submitting false claims. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for a unanimous court stated, “What matters for an FCA case is whether the defendant knew the claim was false. Thus, if [the defendants] correctly interpreted the relevant phrase and believed their claims were false, they could have known their claims were false.” Read the opinion in full here.

Under this rationale, a defendant could successfully make the argument, “I didn’t know the claim was false and I never bothered to do anything to make sure of that fact.” Even objectively unreasonable claims, such as charging a million dollars for a drug which only cost one dollar, could be successfully defended.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Health Care Fraud Investigations and other Legal Proceedings.

The Health Law Firm represents healthcare providers in Medicare and Medicaid audits, and in RAC audits throughout Florida and across the U.S. We also represent health providers in civil and administrative litigation by government agencies and insurance companies attempting to recoup claims that have been paid.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, dentists, pharmacists, psychotherapists, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, assisted living facilities (ALFs), home health agencies, nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits and recovery actions.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Elberg, Jacob. “Supreme Court maintains focus on defendant’s subjective beliefs in False Claims Act cases.” SCOTUS Blog. (June 1, 2023). Web.

Wilson, Daniel. “Justices Say FCA Liability Hinges On Defendants’ Beliefs.” Law360. (June 1, 2023). Web.

Gaivin, Kathleen. “False Claims Act ruling by High Court a ‘clear win’ for government, expert says.” McKnights Senior Living. (June 2, 2023). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law; he is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Current Open Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm always seeks qualified individuals interested in health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a current member of The Florida Bar or a qualified professional who is interested, please forward a cover letter and resume to: [email protected] or fax them to (407) 331-3030.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2023. The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Hospital Countersues Whistleblower for Failing to Report Conduct Internally First

George F. Indest IIIBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On March 13, 2019, a West Virginia hospital facing a whistleblower lawsuit countersued a former employee who filed the False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit against the health system. Wheeling Hospital alleges that the former executive, who is the whistleblower/relator in the lawsuit, breached his fiduciary duty to the company by failing to report the unlawful conduct internally, first. Instead, he used the information as the basis for his whistleblower claim. In the countersuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, the Hospital accuses the former executive-turned-whistleblower of attempting to ‘extort a settlement’ and filing the FCA whistleblower suit as an act of revenge.

The Whistleblower’s Complaint.

The whistleblower, a former accountant, and senior executive at Wheeling Hospital, was discharged in August 2015. In December 2017, he filed a complaint under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA). He alleged the hospital violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) by paying kickbacks to physicians for patient referrals to the Hospital. Based on this, it is alleged, the claims for the services the hospital provided to the referred patients were false claims, subject to recoupment by the government.

The Hospital’s Countersuit.

In an unusual strategy, the Hospital filed a counter-suit against the whistleblower, alleging that he breached his fiduciary duty to the Hospital and abused the legal process. The Hospital’s case asserts that instead of carrying out his duty to the Hospital, instead, he capitalized on his alleged knowledge of the conduct to “extort a settlement” through a “false and frivolous” FCA suit as an act of revenge.

Additionally, the Hospital alleges that “at no time during his employment, or in his role as a partner at Deloitte, did he report any suspicions of fraud or violations of federal regulations to Wheeling Hospital’s compliance officer.”

You can read Wheeling Hospital’s countersuit against the whistleblower on our website in full.

The Significance of This Case: Unique Defense Strategy for Defending a Whistleblower Suit.

This case shows a unique, but legally valid, defense strategy that might be used in other future whistleblower cases. Often the information about false claims is produced by a high-ranking hospital or institutional employees whose job duties may have required them to report what they knew to the company as part of their job. The company should then have the opportunity to investigate and correct any improper billing or other misconduct that an errant employee might be carrying out on his own. By failing to do this, the employee may breach his duties to the company, may violate his employment contract, and may be subject to a suit or counter-suit over this. To the extent that the actions of the ex-employee cause the employer damages, the employer may be entitled to indemnification from the ex-employee.

However, the other side of the story is when an employee does make his or her superiors aware of suspected misconduct and false claims within the company and the company does nothing about it. This is often the case that we have when potential blowers contact us about filing a False Claims Act case. Often the whistleblower attempts to do the right thing by reporting it within the company and is stymied by his or her superiors. To us, this opens the door to legitimate whistleblower suits.

To read one of my prior blogs about South Florida Hospital reaching a settlement for similar FCA
claims, click here.

Click here to learn more about who can file a whistleblower/qui tam lawsuit and the reward programs for coming forward with a false claim.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Qui Tam or Whistleblower Cases.

Attorneys with The Health Law Firm represent physicians, nurses and other health professionals who desire to file a False Claims Act (whistleblower or qui tam) case. However, the attorneys of The Health Law Firm also defend physicians, medical groups and health facilities that have been sued in False Claims Act (whistleblower or qui tam) cases or have had administrative or civil complaints filed against them to recover civil monetary penalties. We have developed relationships with recognized experts in health care accounting, health care financing, utilization review, medical review, filling, coding, and other services that assist us in such matters. We have represented doctors, nurses and others as relators in bringing qui tam or whistleblower cases, as well.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Pearlman, Steve and Freeman, Meika. “Top 10 Whistleblowing And Retaliation Events Of The Year.” Law360. (December 20, 2019). Web.

Goldberg, Pinchos. “Hospital Sues Whistleblower for Failing to Report Information And Choosing Instead to Use As Basis for Claim.” JD Supra. (May 8, 2019). Web.

Commins, John. “HOSPITAL COUNTERSUES FALSE CLAIMS WHISTLEBLOWER.” Health Leaders. (May 9, 2019). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

Keywords: Florida health law attorney, whistleblower attorney, whistleblower defense lawyer, Florida health law defense attorney, whistleblower defense attorney, whistleblower defense legal counsel, legal representation for whistleblower cases, qui tam lawyer, health law attorney, qui tam defense lawyer, qui tam plaintiff lawyer, whistleblower legal representation, False Claims Act lawyer, False Claims Act attorney, False Claims Act legal counsel, The Health Law Firm, DOJ defense lawyer, Office of Inspector General (OIG) defense counsel, Office of Inspector General (OIG) defense attorney, Office of Inspector General (OIG) legal representation, medcila legal defense attorney, health care fraud attorney, health care fraud lawyer, attorney legal representation for qui tam cases, Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) attorney, Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) lawyer, Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) defense counsel, Medicare fraud defense lawyer attorney, Medicare fraud legal representation, Medicaid fraud defense lawyer attorney, legal representation for Medicare and Medicaid fraud, legal representation for Stark Law violations, healthcare fraud defense attorney, whistle blower lawyer attorney, reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews, Florida qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, Colorado qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, Louisiana qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, Kentucky qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, Virginia qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, District of Columbia (D.C.) qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, civil monetary penalties lawyer attorney, Colorado False Claims Act (FCA) and civil monetary penalties lawyer, Louisiana False Claims Act (FCA) and civil monetary penalties attorney, Kentucky False Claims Act (FCA) and civil monetary penalties lawyer attorney legal counsel, Virginia False Claims Act (FCA) and civil monetary penalties lawyer attorney, Virginia whistleblower lawyer attorney, District of Columbia (D.C.) False Claims Act (FCA) and civil monetary penalties lawyer attorney, civil monetary penalties lawyer attorney

The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999, and is also a registered service mark.
Copyright © 2020 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved

By |2019-12-30T21:22:42-05:00March 16, 2020|Categories: Pharmacy Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Hospital Countersues Former Employee for Failing to Report Information Internally in FCA Suit

George F. Indest IIIBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On March 13, 2019, a West Virginia hospital facing a whistleblower lawsuit countersued a former employee who filed the False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit against the health system. Wheeling Hospital alleges that the former executive, who is the whistleblower/relator in the lawsuit, breached his fiduciary duty to the company by failing to report the unlawful conduct internally, first. Instead, he used the information as the basis for his whistleblower claim. In the countersuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, the Hospital accuses the former executive-turned-whistleblower of attempting to ‘extort a settlement’ and filing the FCA whistleblower suit as an act of revenge.

The Whistleblower’s Complaint.

The whistleblower, a former accountant, and senior executive at Wheeling Hospital, was discharged in August 2015. In December 2017, he filed a complaint under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA). He alleged the hospital violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) by paying kickbacks to physicians for patient referrals to the Hospital. Based on this, it is alleged, the claims for the services the hospital provided to the referred patients were false claims, subject to recoupment by the government.

The Hospital’s Countersuit.

In an unusual strategy, the Hospital filed a counter-suit against the whistleblower, alleging that he breached his fiduciary duty to the Hospital and abused the legal process. The Hospital’s case asserts that instead of carrying out his duty to the Hospital, instead, he capitalized on his alleged knowledge of the conduct to “extort a settlement” through a “false and frivolous” FCA suit as an act of revenge.

Additionally, the Hospital alleges that “at no time during his employment, or in his role as a partner at Deloitte, did he report any suspicions of fraud or violations of federal regulations to Wheeling Hospital’s compliance officer.”

You can read Wheeling Hospital’s countersuit against the whistleblower on our website in full.

The Significance of This Case: Unique Defense Strategy for Defending a Whistleblower Suit.

This case shows a unique, but legally valid, defense strategy that might be used in other future whistleblower cases. Often the information about false claims is produced by a high-ranking hospital or institutional employees whose job duties may have required them to report what they knew to the company as part of their job. The company should then have the opportunity to investigate and correct any improper billing or other misconduct that an errant employee might be carrying out on his own. By failing to do this, the employee may breach his duties to the company, may violate his employment contract, and may be subject to a suit or counter-suit over this. To the extent that the actions of the ex-employee cause the employer damages, the employer may be entitled to indemnification from the ex-employee.

However, the other side of the story is when an employee does make his or her superiors aware of suspected misconduct and false claims within the company and the company does nothing about it. This is often the case that we have when potential blowers contact us about filing a False Claims Act case. Often the whistleblower attempts to do the right thing by reporting it within the company and is stymied by his or her superiors. To us, this opens the door to legitimate whistleblower suits.

To read one of my prior blogs about South Florida Hospital reaching a settlement for similar FCA
claims, click here.

Click here to learn more about who can file a whistleblower/qui tam lawsuit and the reward programs for coming forward with a false claim.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Qui Tam or Whistleblower Cases.

Attorneys with The Health Law Firm represent physicians, nurses and other health professionals who desire to file a False Claims Act (whistleblower or qui tam) case. However, the attorneys of The Health Law Firm also defend physicians, medical groups and health facilities that have been sued in False Claims Act (whistleblower or qui tam) cases or have had administrative or civil complaints filed against them to recover civil monetary penalties. We have developed relationships with recognized experts in health care accounting, health care financing, utilization review, medical review, filling, coding, and other services that assist us in such matters. We have represented doctors, nurses and others as relators in bringing qui tam or whistleblower cases, as well.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Pearlman, Steve and Freeman, Meika. “Top 10 Whistleblowing And Retaliation Events Of The Year.” Law360. (December 20, 2019). Web.

Goldberg, Pinchos. “Hospital Sues Whistleblower for Failing to Report Information And Choosing Instead to Use As Basis for Claim.” JD Supra. (May 8, 2019). Web.

Commins, John. “HOSPITAL COUNTERSUES FALSE CLAIMS WHISTLEBLOWER.” Health Leaders. (May 9, 2019). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

Keywords: Florida health law attorney, whistleblower attorney, whistleblower defense lawyer, Florida health law defense attorney, whistleblower defense attorney, whistleblower defense legal counsel, legal representation for whistleblower cases, qui tam lawyer, health law attorney, qui tam defense lawyer, qui tam plaintiff lawyer, whistleblower legal representation, False Claims Act lawyer, False Claims Act attorney, False Claims Act legal counsel, The Health Law Firm, DOJ defense lawyer, Office of Inspector General (OIG) defense counsel, Office of Inspector General (OIG) defense attorney, Office of Inspector General (OIG) legal representation, medcila legal defense attorney, health care fraud attorney, health care fraud lawyer, attorney legal representation for qui tam cases, Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) attorney, Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) lawyer, Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) defense counsel, Medicare fraud defense lawyer attorney, Medicare fraud legal representation, Medicaid fraud defense lawyer attorney, legal representation for Medicare and Medicaid fraud, legal representation for Stark Law violations, healthcare fraud defense attorney, whistle blower lawyer attorney, reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews, Florida qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, Colorado qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, Louisiana qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, Kentucky qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, Virginia qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, District of Columbia (D.C.) qui tam whistle blower lawyer attorney, civil monetary penalties lawyer attorney, Colorado False Claims Act (FCA) and civil monetary penalties lawyer, Louisiana False Claims Act (FCA) and civil monetary penalties attorney, Kentucky False Claims Act (FCA) and civil monetary penalties lawyer attorney legal counsel, Virginia False Claims Act (FCA) and civil monetary penalties lawyer attorney, Virginia whistleblower lawyer attorney, District of Columbia (D.C.) False Claims Act (FCA) and civil monetary penalties lawyer attorney, civil monetary penalties lawyer attorney

The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999, and is also a registered service mark.
Copyright © 2020 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved

By |2019-12-30T21:18:07-05:00February 24, 2020|Categories: Nursing Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments
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