Jury Finds Tuomey Healthcare Violated False Claims Act With $40M in Kickbacks

Posted: 05/09/2013  browse the blog archive

A federal jury has found South Carolina-based Tuomey Healthcare System violated the Stark Law and the False Claims Act when it collected nearly $40 million in fraudulent Medicare claims, reported Sumter, S.C.’s The Item.

Tuomey Healthcare System was accused of signing 19 doctors to lucrative part-time contracts that paid well above fair market value in order to continue to receive the referral fees associated with those doctors’ procedures.  Paying doctors out of their referral fees constitutes an illegal kickback under Medicare law, and the U.S. government sought to recover all of the Medicare claims filed as a result of procedures performed by those 19 doctors between 2005 and 2009.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Dr. Michael Drakeford under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens with knowledge of fraud to sue on behalf of the government and share in a portion of the recovery.  Drakeford’s share of the reward has yet to be determined, but according to The Item, he has said that his portion of the award will go toward charitable health care efforts in the Sumter community.

The settlement amount, including fees, fines, and penalties, has yet to be determined.  Tuomey has 28 days to file an appeal.

The Chanler Group, in association with the Hirst Law Group, represents whistleblowers who take action under the False Claims Act to report fraud committed against the federal and state governments.  We have years of experience representing whistleblower clients who expose every kind of fraud against the government, including health care fraud, contract fraud, and tax fraud.  Read more about our expertise in False Claims Act cases and how you can take action.

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