The Bay Sleep Clinic in California has agreed to pay a settlement of $2.6 million in a case related to allegations that it made false Medicare claims over the course of about 15 years.
The U.S. government’s lawsuit came on the heels of a similar claim filed by whistleblower Elma Dresser in 2012. Dresser, a former employee of the clinic, will receive more than $540,000 as a reward for her role in uncovering the Medicare fraud. She is eligible for that award under a federal whistleblower program.
Bay Sleep Clinic treats people with sleep disorders and operates 20 locations in northern California. In the lawsuit, Dresser alleged the company had been billing Medicare for sleep tests that uncertified and unlicensed technicians conducted. She also claimed that these tests occurred in unapproved locations and that the company provided kickbacks to physicians in exchange for referrals.
Although Bay Sleep Clinic did not admit any wrongdoing, the settlement prohibits the company from billing Medicare for any services for at least three years.
Federal protections for whistleblowers
This case is another example of the protections and opportunities afforded to whistleblowers through the False Claims Act. Under this federal law, individuals may file lawsuits against businesses and organizations that have defrauded government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. Whistleblowers may earn a percentage of any enforcement action or settlement reached in the case.
To learn more about your options if you are aware of fraud or other illegal activities within an organization, meet with a skilled Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.