Jake Summers, the former executive director of LHC Group Inc. (an Idaho-based health care group), claims to have been terminated for reporting what he believed to have been Medicare fraud. He has now filed a complaint alleging coworkers performed patient discharges over the phone despite billing Medicare for face-to-face visits, and says the company’s decision to fire him was an act of “outrageous and malicious retaliation.”
Two days before his termination, Summers approached leadership with his concerns about the employees possibly having committed Medicare fraud. He told leadership he had discovered employees at the firm were breaking rules about information submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Summers’ concerns went back to January 17, when he overheard an LHC coworker discharging a patient by phone rather than in person. He confronted the employee, only for them to become defensive and to claim that’s how the company had always discharged patients. Summers discussed the issue with another coworker, who had said a regional director told her that was unacceptable practice.
Summers submitted the complaint to a regional vice president the next day, and was fired two days after that when he arrived at work. Summers says there was no other reason LHC made the decision. He says he was acting in good faith by reporting the information he had through the proper channels, and that he should be protected by the False Claims Act in his case. Under the legislation, employees may not be the victims of retaliation by employers after reporting instances of fraud.
For more information about the steps you should take if you fall victim to what you believe to be wrongful termination, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.