CareCloud, an HER company based in Miami, agreed to a $3.8 million settlement in a whistleblower claim alleging the company illegally paid kickbacks to healthcare providers to boost its product sales. The scheme represented violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act.
The whistleblower, Ada de la Vega, worked as a senior manager for CareCloud. She was awarded a 21 percent share of the settlement, just over $800,000, for her assistance in bringing the fraudulent scheme to light.
According to the whistleblower claim, CareCloud paid kickbacks to customers who were involved in its “Champions Program.” Existing customers would enter into written agreements with the company to recommend these HER products to possible customers, and would in return receive cash payments and credits. They were also clearly instructed to not say anything negative about these products.
Upon hearing concerns from doctors over the legality and ethics of the arrangement de la Vega decided to file the qui tam lawsuit so the government could come in and perform an independent investigation.
The claim also alleged the EHR software produced by CareCloud had some substantial flaws that made the system unreliable and unable to meet federal Meaningful Use standards while also creating possible risks to patient health and safety. These claims, however, were not investigated by the DOJ, but they were enough of a concern to de la Vega that it gave her an extra motivation to file the case to ensure patient safety was protected.
If you believe you have information about a fraudulent scheme within your workplace, it is important to take the proper steps to alert the authorities. In many cases, it is only with whistleblower assistance that information about this fraud comes to light.
To get started, contact a skilled whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group.