University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Settles False Medicare Claims for $11.5M; Whistleblower Award TBD

Posted: 08/15/2016  browse the blog archive
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Settles False Medicare Claims for $11.5M; Whistleblower Award TBD

 Atrium Medical Corp. has agreed to pay $11.5 million to settle allegations that the company knowingly submitted or caused the submission of false claims to federal health care program Medicare and also violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, Standly Hamilton LLP announced last month.

Atrium allegedly engaged in an extensive nationwide scheme to promote its iCast brand stent for use in the vascular system even though it was federally approved only for treating tracheobronchial obstructions.  According to the lawsuit, Atrium used a system of referral dinners to induce physicians to implant the stents in the arteries of elderly patients while submitting payment claims to Medicare. The lawsuit also alleged Atrium provided financial grants and other kickbacks to doctors in violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

Atrium sold an estimated $382 million in iCast stents from 2007 to 2012 nearly 100 percent of which are believed to have been implanted for unapproved uses and that more than 70 percent of which were paid for by state and federal health care programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, military hospitals, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The settlement is one of the largest in U.S. history under the federal False Claims Act involving a medical device where the government declined to intervene. 

The False Claims Act allows private parties with knowledge of fraud against the government to sue on behalf of the government and share in the recovery.  This lawsuit was filed by Esther Grace Sullivan, a former sales representative and territory business manager for Atrium.  Her share of the settlement has yet to be determined.

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.