Search Site
Menu

Ohio Hospital Must Pay $21.25 Million to Resolve Kickback Allegations

Akron General Health System (AGHS) recently agreed to a $21.25 settlement to end whistleblower lawsuits alleging the organization violated the False Claims Act’s Anti-Kickback Statute.

The whistleblower who brought the case under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act was Beverly Brouse, who served as Director of Internal Audit at the company. She alleged the organization was quoting over-market value payments for physicians’ services.

Case background

In Brouse’s claim, she says AGHS’s illegal kickback scheme ran from 2010 through 2016. During this time, AGHS would pay kickbacks to doctors who would send more patients to their hospital system. These extra kickback costs were then allegedly charged to Medicare. AGHS’s goal was allegedly to get more referrals by continuing to pay doctors more than market share in return.

At the end of 2015, AGHS was acquired by Cleveland Clinic Foundation, which disclosed concerns with this compensation to the government. As such, the Clinic was credited for its cooperation in this resolution and did not see any liability, as the scheme was put in place by the leadership before the acquisition.

The False Claims Act makes it illegal for hospitals to charge Medicare for doctor’s services that are higher than the standard market price. This action violates both the Physician Self-Referral Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute. These types of schemes are illegal because they damage accountability and credibility in the medical system, and cost patients and the federal government money.

Brouse will receive 15 to 30 percent of the total $21.25 million settlement for her part in bringing forth the lawsuit. Individuals who file False Claims Act lawsuits on behalf of the government are fairly compensated because they assume significant risk in doing so, and because it takes effort to compile and begin a case.

For more information about filing a False Claims Act case, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.

Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    #600
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
Testimonials
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.

FOLLOW US
Facebook Twitter Linkedin RSS Feed JD Supra