Article: Whistleblower Lawsuits and the Case Against HCA, Inc.
The number of qui tam cases has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade, with an ever-increasing number against the health care industry. Medicare (government insurance for the elderly) and Medicaid (government insurance for the poor) fraud seems to be running rampant and only by virtue of brave whistleblowers has the government been able to recoup some of its losses.
One of the largest qui tam cases in recent years (2003) is actually a group of eight cases filed by whistle blowers against HCA, Inc. (formerly known as Columbia/HCA and HCA - The Healthcare Company). HCA agreed to a settlement and paid the United States $631 million in civil penalties and damages arising from false claims that the government alleged it submitted to Medicare and other federal health programs. This settlement marked the conclusion of the most comprehensive health care fraud investigation ever undertaken by the Justice Department.
Prior to the civil case, HCA subsidiaries pled guilty to substantial criminal conduct and paid more than $840 million in criminal fines, civil restitution and penalties. Investigations revealed that HCA had systematically cheated Medicare, Medicaid and other federally-funded health care programs through schemes dating back to the late 1980s. Combined with the civil settlement and some fines, the government recovered a whopping $1.7 billion from HCA, by far the largest recovery ever reached by the government in a health care fraud investigation.
Under the settlement, the whistleblowers received a combined share of $151,591,500, the highest combined qui tam award ever paid out by the government.
HCA Fraud and Whistleblower Awards
As you can see, whistleblowers, in large cases, stand to gain substantial rewards should the defendants be held liable. If you have good reason to believe your employer has committed fraud against the government, contact a qui tam attorney right away. An experienced qui tam lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and determine if it is worth pursuing.
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