The United States Department of Justice recently announced that ev3 Inc., a company that recently acquired Fox Hollow Technologies, agreed to pay a $1.25 million penalty to settle accusations that Fox Hollow had committed violations of the False Claims Act by causing some of its hospital clients to submit false claims through the Medicare program.
Fox Hollow develops a variety of devices for health care clients, including the Silver Hawk Plaque Excision System, a type of device that is used in atherectomy, a type of surgical procedure designed to be minimally invasive. The device has a small cutting tool that removes hardened arteries (a condition known as atherosclerosis) from some of the body’s larger blood vessels with the goal of opening up the arteries and increasing circulation.
A whistleblower that used to work for Fox Hollow as a sales representative, Amanda Cashi, filed an action in late 2009 stating that from 2006 to 2007, Fox Hollow caused a dozen different hospitals in nine states to submit false claims to Medicare for unnecessary inpatient stays after they received these procedures. The Department of Justice also claims that Fox Hollow advised hospitals to bill these procedures as inpatient procedures, even though those patients could have undergone less expensive outpatient procedures. This was allegedly done in an effort to get hospitals to purchase more of its Silver Hawk devices. The hospitals, meanwhile, received more reimbursement than they otherwise would have.
For her role in exposing the False Claims Act violations by Fox Hollow, Cashi received an award of $250,000.
If you work in the health care industry and are aware of False Claims Act violations within your organization, don’t be afraid to speak out. Work with a skilled Dallas attorney from Whistleblower Law for Managers to get started.