United States Joins False Claims Act Lawsuit Alleging Overbilling by IPC The Hospitalist Company

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Department of Justice joins suit filed by Goldberg Kohn Ltd.

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The public should understand how difficult and rare it is for a successful doctor to come forward and report overbilling.

The United States Department of Justice intervened today in a whistleblower lawsuit against IPC The Hospitalist Company, Inc., a national hospitalist company that employs approximately 2,000 physicians who work in hospitals in 28 states. The lawsuit, filed by Goldberg Kohn, Ltd., alleges that IPC has, for years, intentionally and systematically overbilled Medicare and other government health care programs for services provided by its physician employees.

Goldberg Kohn filed the lawsuit on behalf of Dr. Bijan Oughatiyan, a former IPC employee, under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which encourages private citizens to report fraud against the government by allowing them to sue on behalf of the government and receive a share of any recovery. The False Claims Act also allows the government to join and prosecute such lawsuits, as the Department of Justice has elected to do in this case.

Dr. Oughatiyan alleges that IPC knowingly submitted inflated claims for reimbursement to government health care programs for services provided by its physician employees, called hospitalists, who are typically trained in internal medicine and provide care exclusively to hospital inpatients. According to the lawsuit, IPC encouraged its hospitalists to bill for higher and more expensive levels of service than were actually provided—a practice called "upcoding."

"The public should understand how difficult and rare it is for a successful doctor to come forward and report overbilling," said Goldberg Kohn attorney Matthew Organ. "We are proud to represent Dr. Oughatiyan, who set an example of honesty and integrity, and we are gratified that the government has decided to join this important case."

The lawsuit is United States of America ex rel. Bijan Oughatiyan v. IPC the Hospitalist Company, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 09 C 5418 (N.D. Ill.). The claims asserted against the defendants are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.

To view the press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2013/pr1209_01.html.

About Goldberg Kohn:

Serving clients nationwide, the attorneys of Goldberg Kohn (http://www.goldbergkohn.com) are committed to helping fight fraud against the government, and have recovered more than $250 million on behalf of the government. Goldberg Kohn's whistleblower team helps its clients bring successful lawsuits against companies that commit fraud. There are a growing number of federal, state and local laws – including the False Claims Act – designed to encourage people with knowledge of fraud against the government to come forward. These whistleblower laws often provide a financial reward, and a level of protection to those who do. Goldberg Kohn can help whistleblowers make use of these laws to stop fraud, maximize their rewards for coming forward, and protect them throughout the process. The firm has the experience, sophistication and resources required to take on even the largest corporate defendants and will fight for clients all the way to the finish line. Goldberg Kohn can be contacted at 312-863-7222 or whistle(at)goldbergkohn(dot)com.

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Jennifer Hutchison
Goldberg Kohn, Ltd
+1 (770) 481-1769
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