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17 Jul, 2013

Whistleblower Doctor Exposed Illegal Activities That Forced U.S. Hospital to Pay $39 Million


Editor’s Comment

This press release by the U.S. law firm Goldberg Kohn, reproduced verbatim, indicates that whistleblowers are not only coming forward but also getting legal support, which is  being publicised by the lawyers. It should set off warning bells in the health & wellness sector, and the medical system as a whole.

If treated as an early warning, and used to start cleaning up many of the nefarious practises plaguing the medical system, prevention will prove better than cure. Led by their conscience, whistleblowers are coming out of the woodwork big time. Governments and multinational corporations should never consider themselves to be beyond accountability.

Travel Impact Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil’s two columns published way back in Sept 2002 and July 2003 are proving right. The column, Soul-Searching, was gagged by the Bangkok Post in July 2012. Read them here:

Let’s Hear It for Whistle-Blowers

The Lies that will shape the Remaining Chapters of the 21st Century

(PRWEB) July 16, 2013  – Every whistleblower attorney at Goldberg Kohn applauds Dr. Michael Drakeford, the whistleblower in the Tuomey Healthcare System case. He exposed the Sumter, North Carolina, hospital for its illegal activities after he declined to enter into an improper compensation agreement offered by the hospital. According to Modern Healthcare (5.8.13), Drakeford filed a lawsuit against the hospital in 2005. In May 2013, a South Carolina jury found improper referrals resulted in nearly 22,000 false claims totaling over $39 million worth of overpayments.

Under the Stark law and the False Claims Act, hospitals are not allowed to financially reward doctors for referring patients to a hospital. “This behavior constitutes Medicare fraud,” said a whistleblower attorney at Goldberg Kohn.

The 10-person jury found Tuomey Healthcare System guilty of violating both the Stark Law and the False Claims Act. As a result of the decision, Tuomey may face up to $357 million in False Claims Act liabilities, according to Modern Healthcare.

The suit filed by orthopedic surgeon Drakeford alleged that Tuomey entered into contracts with 19 part-time staff surgeons. The agreement based salaries and bonuses on fees the physicians brought in. These illegal compensation arrangements tainted a total of 21,730 Medicare claims submitted by Tuomey, found the jurors. Hospital executives may have made the decision to improperly compensate the doctors out of fear that they would divert lucrative patients to other healthcare providers, said Modern Healthcare.

It took the jury less than 5 hours to convict Tuomey on violations of the Stark Law and False Claims act.  The case is U.S. ex rel Drakeford v Tuomey Healthcare System Inc., 675 F.3d 394 (4th Cir. 2012)

If you suspect health care law violations, contact the whistleblower attorneys at Goldberg Kohn at (312) 863-7222 to schedule a free, confidential appointment with one of the firm’s nationally recognized whistleblower attorneys.

The Attorneys of Goldberg Kohn are committed to fighting fraud against the government, maximizing whistleblowers’ rewards for coming forward, and protecting whistleblowers throughout the process. Goldberg Kohn’s whistleblower lawyers have the experience, sophistication and resources required to take on even the largest corporate defendants on behalf of our clients. Goldberg Kohn will fight all the way to the finish line.