Port Washington, New York (PRWEB) August 18, 2014
Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that represents whistleblowers in qui tam cases, comments that Community Health Systems Inc. (CHS) has agreed to pay $98.15 million to settle False Claims Act allegations. According to a press release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee on August 5, 2014, CHS allegedly submitted false claims by intentionally billing for more expensive inpatient services when less-expensive outpatient or observation services would have sufficed (United States ex rel. Bryant v. Community Health Systems, Inc., et al., Case No. 10-2695 (S.D. Tex.)). CHS is the country’s largest operator of acute care hospitals, according to the release.
David Rivera, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said in the release, “This office is committed to ensuring that all companies billing government healthcare programs are responsible corporate citizens and that hospital providers do not engage in schemes to increase medically unnecessary in-patient admissions of government healthcare program beneficiaries in order to increase profits.” The release stated that several whistleblower lawsuits were resolved in the settlement.
According to Parker Waichman LLP, whistleblowers have been crucial to detecting and stopping fraud. The settlement enforces the message that punitive actions will be taken against companies that commit fraud and other wrongdoing.
Since 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating CHS to determine whether or not they have been billing government health plans, such as Medicaid and Medicare, for inpatient services when they should have been billed as outpatient, according to a Reuters report published on August 4th. The investigation looked at activity between January 2005 and December 2010. In January, Community Health Services acquired Health Management Associates. The settlement resolves allegations at 119 of its facilities, but does not cover hospitals that were affiliated with Health Management Associated before the acquisition.
According to report by The Charlotte Observer published on August 5th, the settlement requires CHA to enter into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Under the agreement, CHS claims for inpatient services submitted to government health care programs will be evaluated by independent review organizations. One of the whistleblowers was singled out by the government and praised for their efforts, the article said. The whistleblower alleged that they were fired for refusing to take part in the wrongdoing (United States ex rel. Mason v. Community Health Systems, Inc., et al., Case No. 3:12-cv-817 (W.D.N.C.)).
Parker Waichman LLP supports efforts to protect whistleblowers and offers free legal evaluations to those individuals who believe their companies may be involved in wrongdoings. If you believe that a consumer product manufacturer, a medical device maker, or a pharmaceutical company is committing fraudulent activities and would like to maintain your anonymity, we encourage you to contact us at the firm’s Whistleblower page at yourlawyer.com or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).