Baptist Health System Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit for $2.5 Million

May 28, 2014 — A group of medical providers in Jacksonville, Florida has settled False Claims Act allegations for $2.5 million. The allegations against Baptist Health System Inc. (Baptist Health) came to light in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Verchetta Wells, a former employee. Under the qui tam provisions of Act, Wells will receive $424,155 from the recovery.

Baptist Health Neurologists Allegedly Submitted False Claims to Medicaid for Unnecessary Services

Between September 2009 and October 2011, two Baptist Health neurologists allegedly misdiagnosed their patients with an array of neurological disorders. The physicians then prescribed various prescription drugs and services to treat the nonexistent conditions. Those treatments, in turn, were billed to Medicare, Medicaid, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and TRICARE.
In October 2011, Baptist Health put one of the neurologists on administrative leave, but continued to hide the misdiagnoses from the affected healthcare programs until September 2012.
The nation’s Medicaid program was created to provide health care for the underserved. Medicaid is funded with both state and federal tax dollars. In this case, the State of Florida paid a portion of the false claims submitted to Medicaid, and therefore will receive $19,024 from the $2.5 million settlement, reports the U.S. Justice Department.
State governments rely on whistleblowers like the inside employee in this case to fight Medicaid fraud by bringing a False Claims Act lawsuit. The Act’s qui tam provisions reward tipsters with a sizable share of any recovery from the suit.

Health Care Insiders Lead the Fight Against Medicare Fraud

False claims to Medicaid are frequently revealed by health care insiders, as in this Florida case. With knowledgeable lawyers in Texas, California and the Washington D.C. area, Waters & Kraus guides whistleblowers through the process, safeguarding their interests. Email us or call our False Claims Act lawyers at 855.784.0268 to collaborate with us to preserve Medicaid spending for those who truly need it.

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