McAllen Whistleblower Litigation Lawyer
False Claims Act & Qui Tam Lawsuits
The federal False Claims Act and state law equivalents are important tools in the fight against waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer money. Persons with knowledge of fraud against government programs and contracts can file qui tam lawsuits on behalf of the government to recover taxpayer money. In addition, there may be substantial rewards for those who report fraudulent conduct. In fact, Congress has strengthened the Act by increasing incentives for people to file lawsuits on behalf of the government. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has made it easier to file these lawsuits.
If you're afraid of an employer, business partner, or other person or entity punishing you for reporting fraud, know that the False Claims Act can also provide significant financial rewards if others retaliate against you for providing information. No one should make you feel afraid to do the right thing.
Qui tam lawsuits are increasingly common, and settlements and recoveries have been growing quickly. In 2016 alone, the U.S. reported that it had recovered over $4.7 billion from False Claims Act cases. From 2009 to 2016, the total amount recovered was over $31.3 billion.
Who Can File a Qui Tam Lawsuit?
Technically, any person or group of people can file a qui tam lawsuit. If you have information about a company, entity, or individual who is committing fraud against the government, you can file a claim and may be eligible to recover compensation. Of course, you would not be able to file a qui tam lawsuit if your claims are not viable or if there is an existing claim against the potential defendant.
Of the $4.7 billion recovered by the U.S. in 2016, over half came from the healthcare industry, including drug companies, medical device companies, hospitals, nursing homes, labs, and physicians. These recoveries restore money to programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Just as important, the vigorous pursuit of health care fraud prevents billions more in losses by deterring others who might try to cheat the system.
Examples of Healthcare Fraud
These are examples of healthcare fraud that you should report to Omar Ochoa Law Firm:
- Selling defective medical devices
- Billing for a service not provided to the patient
- Billing for a procedure or product the patient didn’t need. For example, a patient only needs a basic x-ray which costs $75, but the physician orders an MRI and related testing.
- “Up coding,” i.e., using a billing code that has a higher reimbursement rate than the procedure actually performed
- Giving or receiving money, gifts, trips, meals, or other things of value in exchange for referrals or business
- Physicians referring patients to other businesses they own. For example, a doctor may refer one of his patients to a physical therapy business that the doctor also owns.
- Simultaneous procedures. For example, if a surgeon begins a procedure on one patient, they cannot leave to start a procedure on another patient before finishing the first procedure.
- Medical procedures performed by unqualified staff. For example, a surgical assistant cannot insert implants into a patient or make cuts to the patient.
- Misrepresenting patient data. For example, wrongly reporting a patient’s age or address.
- Pharmacies providing partially full prescriptions
Whistleblowers have recovered millions of dollars as a result of working with an attorney to file lawsuits for healthcare fraud:
- Damon Clinical Laboratories, Inc. bundled medically unnecessary tests. The government recovered $83.7 million, and three whistleblowers recovered over $9 million.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan backdated documents in response to a government audit and paid $27.6 million. The whistleblower was rewarded $5.5 million.
- Physicians at a Tenet hospital in California were performing unnecessary cardiac procedures, resulting in a fine of $54 million. Two whistleblowers received $8.1 million.
We've worked with whistleblowers to recover millions of dollars from healthcare facilities and practitioners who were committing healthcare fraud. Healthcare fraud cases are complicated and expensive, but Omar Ochoa Law Firm has the resources, experience, and knowledge to pursue maximum recovery.
Contact us for a consultation. We will keep your identity and information confidential.
We had a wonderful experience working with Omar Ochoa- the communication was excellent.- Mario S.
Communicative, Supportive & Helpful
From the start, the law firm was extremely helpful. We had a wonderful experience working with the Omar Ochoa Law Firm.” - Abel C.
Accessible, Polite & Understanding- Myra A.