Tenet Healthcare Corp. and one of the California hospitals under its umbrella agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit.
The suit alleged the company implanted pacemakers into patients unnecessarily and sought reimbursement from Medicare for doing so.
The lawsuit was originally filed by Michael Grace, who accused the company (based in Texas) and its Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California of running the fraudulent pacemaker scheme dating back to as early as 2014.
The process of performing unnecessary procedures to receive federal reimbursements is a violation of the False Claims Act. But as a representative from the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement, these types of medically unnecessary procedures also needlessly put patients at risk, because there is always some level of risk involved with invasive medical procedures.
Grace will receive nearly $250,000 from the settlement. The lawsuit remains under seal in California due to other similar claims currently pending.
Tenet also has had other recent issues with healthcare fraud litigation, settling another claim for $66 million in November 2019 in a case alleging doctors with Tenet would receive kickbacks for referring patients to one of its Oklahoma hospitals. Another claim in 2016 saw Tenet agree to pay $513 million and plead guilty to close investigations into payments of kickbacks for referring pregnant immigrant patients.
Estimates indicate the United States government loses billions of dollars in health care fraud every year, and, in most cases, the fraud would go completely undiscovered and unnoticed without the information provided by whistleblowers. If you believe your company is engaged in a fraudulent scheme to get money from government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, it is important you connect with an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law group to properly gather your evidence and prepare your claim.