Baptist Health Whistleblower to Receive $424,155 in Qui Tam Lawsuit Award By Tod Aronovitz | 05/09/14 | 0 Comment

Jacksonville-based Baptist Health System Inc., which owns and operates a variety of affiliated hospitals and medical providers throughout the state including Miami, has agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations against it.

The qui tam lawsuit was filed by former Baptist Health employee, Verchetta Wells, who claimed that some of the company’s subsidiaries submitted false claims to federal health care programs including Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program for medically unnecessary services and medications, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

As a result of the settlement, the state of Florida—which paid for some of the Medicaid claims at issue—will receive $19,024. Whistleblower Wells will share in the government’s recovery with a reward of $424,155.

At the heart of the qui tam lawsuit were allegations against two neurologists in the Baptist Health network who supposedly misdiagnosed patients from September 2009 to October 2011. Patients were deliberately given wrong diagnoses for several neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis, causing Baptist Health to bill for unnecessary treatments. Although one of the physicians was placed on administrative leave in October 2011, Baptist Health did not disclose this information to the government until September 2012.

“Health care providers will not be permitted to provide patients unnecessary medical services and drugs and then pocket the improper payments they receive as a result,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Brian Martens, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. “Our agency is dedicated to investigating health care fraud schemes that divert scarce taxpayer funds meant to provide for legitimate patient care.”

How to Report Miami Medicare Fraud

Healthcare professionals or medical billing employees who have knowledge of questionable Medicare billing practices can file a confidential legal claim under the False Claims Act. By acting as a “whistleblower” in what is known as a “qui tam” lawsuit, a private party may collect between 10 to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam Law Firm

The Miami Qui Tam law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely works with whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss your case.