Federal Government Joins Hospital Whistleblower Suit
The U.S. federal government announced it would join a whistleblower lawsuit filed against a West Virginia hospital. The suit includes allegations the hospital improperly submitted payments and kickbacks to physicians under the direction of its management firm and chief executive officer.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2017 and was made public for the first time in December when the government announced it would join the lawsuit. It contains allegations that Wheeling Hospital in Charleston, West Virginia, violated several laws — including the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute — by improperly paying out millions of dollars in excessive compensation based on value and volume of patient referrals. For some physicians, this resulted in additional compensation of more than $1 million per year.
The hospital is accused of defrauding Medicaid and Medicare of millions of dollars dating back to 2008.
Kickbacks based on patient referrals are illegal
Under federal law, physician compensation from hospitals cannot take into consideration the value or volume of patient referrals from the doctors in question. This law exists so doctors will recommend treatment plans based on the patient’s needs and what will best resolve their health issue, rather than what will bring in the most money.
In many cases, instances of healthcare fraud would never come to light without the reports of whistleblowers from within healthcare agencies. For more information regarding what to do if you have knowledge of illegal kickbacks or other types of healthcare fraud, speak with an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.