Thursday, July 29, 2004

National Law Journal article examines Boston health care fraud unit

In an article in the July 26 issue of the National Law Journal, Leonard Post notes that federal prosecutors in Boston have collected big fines in health care fraud cases but indictments have led to only one conviction.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston did not respond to charges by defense attorneys that the office is overly aggressive in its charging decisions.  But the article notes that the office has collected more than $2 billion in criminal fines and civil penalties, an amount sure to make defense attorneys critical.

The National Law Journal requires a subscription for access to its content.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Florida cannot take lead in Caremark whistleblower suit

Florida Circuit Judge P. Kevin Davey has denied the state's request to take the lead in a False Claims Act suit against Caremark Rx Inc.  The judge said that the Florida Attorney General's Office did not provide a legal reason to justify its intervention in the suit more than a year after it declined the pharmacist whistleblowers' request for help. But the judge left the door open for the state to try again.

Reported in The Tennessean,  July 28, 2004 and The Tallahassee Democrat, July 27, 2004

Medical equipment provider to pay $1.38 million for Medicare/Medicaid fraud

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist announced that Doctor's Choice Medical Equipment of Largo, Inc. has agreed to pay more than $1.38 million to settle allegations of Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

The company allegedly double-billed and submitted false claims for durable medical equipment, including wheelchairs and nebulizers.

The fraud was discovered and reported by the new owners of the company, as well as by a whistleblower employee.

The Attorney General's July 22, 2004 press release.

Florida AG investigates pharmaceutical manufacturers wholesale prices

Forida Attorney General Charlie has issued civil subpoenas to six pharmaceutical companies in an investigation focusing on estimated overcharges to the Medicaid program.   The subpoenas will help determine whether the reported wholesale prices were inflated beyond the actual wholesale price, resulting in overpayments, thought to be in excess of $100 million.

The Attorney General's July 20, 2004 press release.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Massachusetts pharmacist defrauded Medicaid

A New Bedford, Massachusetts, pharmacist pleaded guilty to defrauding the state's Medicaid system by filing claims for prescriptions never ordered by physicians.

Richard Bonneau received a suspended jail sentence and was ordered to pay$85,747 in restitution to the Massachusetts Medicaid program.  

Reported in South Coast Today

Friday, July 23, 2004

Report on competition and health care released

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission issued a joint report today, the culmination of a two year investigation.  Improving Health Care: A Dose of Competition is designed to inform consumers, businesses, and policy makers on a range of issues affecting the cost, quality, and accessibility of health care.

The DOJ's press release summarizes the findings. 

Halliburton questioned by House Committee

The New York Times reported that the House Committee on Government Reform questioned employees and executives of Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root regarding their Iraq contracts.

Transcripts of witness testimony are available at the Committee's website.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Gambro to settle Medicare fraud charges

Reuters reports that Gambro will pay $310 million to settle Medicare fraud charges.

Ernst & Young to pay $1.5 million over lab advice

Modern Healthcare reports that accounting firm Ernst & Young, New York, will pay $1.5 million in a civil settlement of allegations that it gave bad advice about clinical laboratory billing to nine hospitals, which then used the advice to unjustly enrich themselves.