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Hospital Pays Millions For Violating False Claims Act

A settlement has been reached in which the North Breward Hospital District has agreed to pay some $69.5 million in restitution for false claims allegations made by the Department of Justice.

The government alleges that the hospital district had provided above market value compensation in exchange for physician referrals therefore violating the government’s False Claims Act . The law specifically states that hospitals may not enter into or maintain financial relationships with physicians in exchange for hospital referrals.

The ruling is being praised for addressing such inappropriate relations because they are both unethical and because it is believed that such relationships may ultimately compromise how patients are cared for and the prices that are paid for that care.

Department of Justice officials and investigators are increasingly focusing on the potential impropriety of such financial relationships between health care providers and their referral sources. Because financial gain is often involved, sometimes this can alter a physician’s judgement about what the patient’s true healthcare needs are and what their treatment should be. This potential to compromise the needs of patients ultimately causes the cost of healthcare to go up for everyone according to Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

The fraud case against the hospital was brought to the attention of authorities by a whistleblower. The False Claims Act which states that a private citizen may report a suit to the federal government in exchange for a portion of the monetary recovery. In this particular lawsuit, the whistleblower, Dr. Michael Reilly, MD, will receive $12,045,655.55 for his role in the case.

As Justice Department head, Assistant Attorney General Mizer said, health care fraud affects everyone in terms of taxpayer dollars that go to pay to bogus medical costs. These fraudulent gains sometimes take precedence over the care of patients and leave the door wide open for the potential of malpractice.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have suffered medical malpractice fraud or neglect through such healthcare fraud, contact the law offices of Bottar Leone PLLC today. No one should have to ever see their health compromised because of dishonesty. We are here for you and our firm prides itself on defending the rights of clients. When you call our offices, we can schedule free consultation and legal analysis to discuss your case. Contact us today.