Lexington Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina, has settled a $17 million lawsuit with one of its former physicians, who had blown the whistle on alleged wrongdoing within the organization.
As part of the settlement, Lexington did not admit fault, but it did allow the organization to avoid further litigation. In a statement, a hospital spokesperson said that none of the issues involved in the lawsuit were related to patient billing or the quality of care Lexington delivered.
The suit stemmed from allegations made by a former employee-physician, who argued that the medical center violated federal law in submitting improper claims to Medicare and other federal insurance programs. He also claimed that the Lexington required its physicians to send patients to different hospital facilities for additional tests, and that doctors would be paid for these referrals. According to state and federal law, physicians should only make referrals for medical purposes.
The U.S. Department of Justice was also involved in the case. Because of that, the whistleblower could be eligible for 25 to 30 percent of the total settlement amount, with the rest going to the federal government. In other words, the plaintiff could receive up to $5 million dollars in the settlement.
One of the reasons why Lexington may have decided to settle was the experience of Tuomey Hospital in Sumter, South Carolina. That medical center faced a similar whistleblower claim, but opted to fight the U.S. government over the matter for nine years. After spending $15 million on legal fees, Tuomey ended up with a $237 million verdict in a jury trial.
If you have noticed wrongdoing within your business or organization, it is your right to expose it. To make sure you protect your interests during this process, work with a skilled Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.