Major whistleblower claims have been occurring in a wide variety of industries lately. One of the industries in which fraud is most prevalent is the health care industry, and this past fall an instance of fraud cost a hospital chain a great deal of money.
Dignity Health, a hospital chain based in San Francisco and covering three states, agreed to settle Medicare overbilling claims by paying $37 million to the government. The United States Department of Justice said that Dignity Health, which had previously been known as Catholic Healthcare West, had submitted bills for its inpatient care services at 13 out of its 39 total hospitals that should have featured smaller charges.
Kathleen Hawkins, a former Dignity Healthy employee who later filed a whistleblower lawsuit in San Francisco, exposed the overbilling fraud. For her part in exposing the corruption, Hawkins took home $6.25 million of the money earned in the settlement.
Dignity Health is one of the five largest hospital systems in the entire United States, so the story sent shockwaves through the industry. The organization said that it was not admitting any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, but it wanted to avoid the expense and drawn-out nature of litigation. The company blamed the overbilling on confusing federal standards of coverage approval.
With the federal government affording more protections to whistleblowers than ever before, individuals who are aware of fraud within their companies have the potential to earn a significant amount of money if the cases are settled. If you are aware of any fraud within your organization, speak with a knowledgeable attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers in Dallas.