Earlier this month, Shands Hospital settled a qui tam lawsuit in which the Hospital was accused of submitting false Medicare and Medicaid claims for inpatient procedures. The qui tam or “whistleblower” (as the field of law is commonly referred to) suit was filed in 2008 under the Florida False Claims Act by Terry Myers after he discovered the false submissions during a 2006 audit.
Mr. Myers alleged that six different Shands hospitals (Shands at Jacksonville, Shands at the University of Florida, Shands at Alachua General Hospital, Shands at Lakeshore, Shands Starke, and Shands Live Oak) had submitted inpatient claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare “for procedures which Shands knew were billable only as outpatient services” between 2003 and 2008. Mr. Myers stated that he felt that it was “very apparent… that serious billing, coding, and compliance issues were occurring.” After performing the audit of Shands’ billing procedures, Mr. Myers offered to train and educate Shands Hospital staff members on proper billing procedures and on how to correct their previous billing errors, but was rebuffed and told that Shands would instead handle the issues internally. Mr. Myers alleged that he never witnessed Shands make any efforts to correct these errors even after his audit had been completed and he had offered to train Shands staff members on how to solve the problems. He also claimed to have advised Shands to self-report the errors to the government, but a 2007 audit revealed that the billing errors continued and grew in number in the year following his 2006 audit.
Choosing an attorney to handle your Qui Tam action can be difficult and rife with problems; there are nearly infinite options to choose from, and deciding who to pick is nearly impossible as tracking the results of these cases is not done in any conventional manner. This is why it is vital to choose a local firm that can provide personal, hands-on guidance and protection in your qui tam action. Dolman Law Group will provide you the legal guidance that you need when proceeding with these actions. Oftentimes, whistleblowers bringing qui tam actions fear retribution from the massive corporations they accuse of defrauding the government. With the enormous amounts of money at stake in these actions, people often overreact and behave irrationally, or even dangerously. These people and corporations sometimes make reprisals, which have been known to range from job loss, to social exclusion, and have even become violent.
In order to protect yourself when doing what’s right and reporting fraud against the government, it is vitally important that you have aggressive and zealous local attorneys that know the area, and more importantly, know you. Attorneys like the experienced litigators at Dolman Law Group, will zealously advocate for you and will work to ensure that you are not harmed in any way for doing your duty to your country or state, by reporting people defrauding the taxpayers. If you, or someone you know, believe you know of an instance where a person or corporation is defrauding the government and its taxpayers, contact me, Alexander Knapp, at Dolman Law Group. I can be reached day and night at email@example.com.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765