February 3, 2014
February 3, 2014 — What impact can health care insiders have in the struggle against Medicare fraud
? A huge impact, as a matter of fact. The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) counts on health care employees to identify false claims against government healthcare programs. In addition, the False Claims Act contains qui tam language empowering whistleblowers to bring a claim in court for the government’s benefit. To encourage tipsters to come forward, the statute entitles them to a significant cut of the government’s recovery.
Whistleblower Lawsuit by Former Office Manager Alleged False Claims to Medicare
Dr. Ravi Sharma, a Florida physician, will pay $400,000 to settle False Claims Act allegations surrounding the doctor and his varicose vein clinic. The allegations first came to light in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a clinic insider, Patti Lovell, Sharma’s former office manager. Under the qui tam provisions of the Act, Lovell will be awarded $72,000 from the government’s recovery.
From 2009 to 2010, Sharma ran Premier Vein Centers in Tampa, Florida. Starting in 2009, when Sharma was away from the office, he allegedly instructed his office manager by text message to conduct varicose vein injections on patients. When Sharma was in the office, the DOJ
alleges, he performed vein injections and associated ultrasound procedures that were medically unnecessary.
From 2009 to 2010, Sharma also ran Life’s New Image, a Tampa weight loss clinic. There, too, unqualified personnel allegedly consulted with clinic patients. Nevertheless, Sharma made false claims to Medicare, billing the appointments with his own provider number as physician office visits.
In 2010, Sharma shut down both clinics.
Fighting Medicare Billing Fraud
Employee insiders at most medical clinics just want to do the right thing. These honest workers deserve to explore their own rights under the False Claims Act prior to filing a lawsuit. With whistleblower lawyers in Texas, California and the Washington, D.C. area, Waters & Kraus is devoted to protecting your interests. When you’ve decided to collaborate with the government, contact us
or phone our False Claims Act lawyers at 855.784.0268 to talk more about the whistleblower process.