$12 Million Dollar Fraud Settlement with Hospital

Medical DoctorA $12 million dollar settlement in a whistleblower lawsuit brought against a Miami Hospital was recently reached. The federal lawsuit alleged that a cardiac specialist at the hospital performed many costly and unnecessary medical procedures on patients, going back to the year 2007.

The doctor at the center of the allegations was the director of the cardiac electrophysiology center, a position he apparently attained as a reward for getting the $10 million dollar donation to build the medical center. South Miami Hospital is part for the Baptist Health South Florida nonprofit medical system, and it is speculated that officials at a high level of Baptist Health were aware of some of the doctor’s actions.

A spokesperson for the hospital commented that the hospital fully cooperated with the federal government in reaching this agreement, and reiterated that these were only allegations. The hospital has not admitted fault in this case. Further, the cardiac specialist at the center of these claims is no longer on staff at the hospital.

Originated by two physicians at the hospital, the suit claims that many patients were subjected to medically unnecessary procedures to treat irregular heartbeats. The patients involved numbered in the thousands, many of whom where elderly. It was claimed that all of this was done with the knowledge of executives of Baptist Health.

In the court filings, the doctors claimed they knew that the cardiac specialist was performing unnecessary procedures for irregular heartbeats in order to increase Medicare and other federal healthcare reimbursements for the hospital and doctor. The lawsuit also went on to claim that the hospital executives and the cardiac physician also benefitted from illegal patient referrals in return for a promotion and pay increase. Specifically, it claimed that the hospital executives either induced the cardiac specialist to solicit the $10 million dollar donation from his patient to build the Cardiac Electrophysiology Center, or rewarded him by making him executive director. Although other physicians and people on the hospital staff complained about the practices of this doctor over time, they alleged that those complaints didn’t seem to be acknowledged or ever acted upon.

The False Claims Act governs a special kind of whistleblower case that is targeted at identifying when a company or employer is defrauding the federal government. Under the False Claims Act, the ‘whistleblowers’ are entitled to a percentage of the damages recovered by the federal government. In this case, the two people who brought the case forward stand to gain $2.7 million dollars in the settlement. In addition to being an apparent violation of the False Claims Act, when a doctor knowingly or negligently orders inappropriate medical testing, such may also be considered medical malpractice.

If you feel that you have been the subject of unfair practices or medical malpractice, whether in Chicago or elsewhere, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages. Having a knowledgeable, aggressive and experienced attorney can make a significant difference in the results you obtain, and the attorneys associated with Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC may be able to help you. Contact us today at (312) 644-0444 for a free case analysis.