Major South Florida Hospital Group Reaches Fraud Settlement
The public hospital group Broward Health recently voted to reach a settlement with the Department of Justice reaching almost $70 million. The payout stems from a four-year federal investigation into alleged widespread Medicare and Medicaid fraud throughout the hospital system.
The investigation started after federal authorities received an anonymous tip. In 2011 Department of Health and Human Services agents began investigating documents provided by Broward Health that connected the hospital group with dozens of high-profile doctors and directors. The details of the case are currently unknown, but because the group’s board voted unanimously in favor of reaching a $69.5 million settlement, it is believed the evidence of fraud is damning. This payment is on top of a previous $10.2 million already paid by the North Broward Hospital District (the group’s official name) to an out-of-state law firm hired to advise on the federal investigation.
Unfortunately, the specifics of the accusations are currently unknown. All we know is that a whistleblower within the company alerted the federal authorities. This means, in addition to Broward Health settling with the Department of Justice, it is going to have to pay the whistleblower as well. The False Claims Act allows for a whistleblower to reap up to 25% of what the government collects. In this case, the whistleblower could recover up to $17 million from the settlement.
False Claims Act Cases
False Claim Act cases are another important cost which companies facing fraud investigations must consider when coming to terms with litigation or settlement decisions. The whistleblower will file a qui tam lawsuit – which is a civil suit for recovery under the False Claims Act – in order to receive their portion of the proceeds. The ability to file a qui tam suit is a powerful motivator for whistleblowers to reach out to the government when they suspect and have proof of fraud within their company. The problem for defendants is that qui tam suits are kept secret in an effort to protect whistleblowers’ identities. So, defendant companies more often than not have no idea a whistleblower plans to sue for a portion of the settlement.
In large part, the decision to reach a settlement depends on the type of evidence the government may or may not have against your company. An experienced fraud attorney is needed to determine how significant the evidence and charges may be. The attorney can then set up a plan of defense tailored to your needs.
If you think you need a lawyer, YOU DO. Call Now!
Are you looking for a skilled attorney who can help defend you against various types of fraud charges? Please contact Attorney Tony Moss at the Tony Moss Firm, L.L.C. to discuss these, or any other defense matters. He has locations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and is prepared to put his 27 years of experience to work for you.