May 12, 2015 — On Monday, March 4, 2015, Davita HealthCare Partners announced it will pay up to $495 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit alleging the Denver company defrauded Medicare and other federal healthcare programs of millions of dollars. This is the third whistleblower suit the company has settled since 2012, with payouts totaling almost $1 billion.
The suit was based on claims by two former DaVita employees, Dr. Alon Vainer and Daniel Barbir, that the company manipulated drug doses administered through its clinics so that the government’s Medicaid, Medicare, CHAMPUS, and CHAMPUSVA programs paid for more pharmaceuticals than were actually dispensed. Dr. Vainer, a board-certified nephrologist, was a medical director for several DaVita clinics in Georgia. Mr. Barbir, a registered nurse, worked as a clinic director at Davita’s Cumming, Georgia clinic.
Largest False Claims Act Settlement Without Government Intervention
This is the largest settlement in history for a False Claims Act case in which the Government has declined to intervene, meaning the Department of Justice has decided not to join the lawsuit and has suspended its involvement in the matter. Marlan Wilbanks, attorney for Vainer and Barbir, said, “In previous decades, if the government did not elector to prosecute a [False Claims Act] case, the whistleblower and their attorney would typically either accept a nominal amount of money or dismiss the case altogether. This case illustrates the true intent of the False Claims Act—to maximize the efficiency of the public-private partnership that Congress envisioned when they passed the act. We invested millions of dollars of our own money and many years of time without any guarantee of success, and we prevailed.”
While Waters & Kraus is not handling this particular False Claims Act case, we are representing whistleblowers in similar lawsuits. If you have comparable claims against a different medical provider, contact us or call our qui tam attorneys at 800.226.9880 to learn more about our practice and how we can work together to notify the government about fraudulent abuses of government-funded programs. Anne Izzo and George Tankard, qui tam lawyers in Waters & Kraus’ Baltimore office, protect tipsters throughout the whistleblower lawsuit process.