March 3, 2015 — The False Claims Act empowers health care insiders to file a whistleblower lawsuit on the government’s behalf. Courageous whistleblowers help to protect the integrity of the Medicare healthcare program for those who need it. Under the Act, the United States may choose to intervene in a qui tam lawsuit and take primary control for litigating it. The statute provides for the government’s recovery of three times the actual damages plus civil penalties. For their willingness to notify the government, tipsters — also referred to as “relators” — are rewarded with a portion of the government’s recovery.
Manufacturer of Device Used in Atherectomy Procedures Allegedly Encouraged Hospitals to File False Claims for Reimbursement to Medicare for Inpatient Procedures
A whistleblower lawsuit against medical device manufacturer ev3 Inc. (previously Fox Hollow Technologies Inc.) has been settled for $1.25 million. The False Claims Act lawsuit was filed by a former Fox Hollow sales representative, Amanda Cashi, who will receive $250,000 as her share of the recovery.
For many years, Fox Hollow manufactured the Silver Hawk Plaque Excision System, a medical device used in atherectomy procedures. The device is a small cutting tool used to remove atherosclerosis from the body’s large blood vessels. In patients with hardening of the arteries, the minimally-invasive procedure clears coronary arteries which improves circulation and blood flow.
Cashi’s qui tam lawsuit alleged that Fox Hollow caused a number of hospitals to file false claims for reimbursement to Medicare for inpatient atherectomy procedures that could have been performed on an outpatient basis more economically and with the same results. Medicare fraud is against the law.
In 2006 and 2007, Fox Hollow sales representatives reportedly boosted sales of the Silver Hawk device by advising hospitals that they could increase their Medicare billings by admitting patients for the Silver Hawk procedure, even though atherectomies can be done just as easily on an outpatient basis. Acting on this advice, twelve hospitals in nine states purchased the Silver Hawk and then billed Medicare for the more expensive inpatient claims.
Contact Us to File a False Claims Act Lawsuit Targeting Abuse by Medical Providers
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 by email 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. Michael Armitage and Louisa Kirakosian, two of the firm’s qui tam attorneys in the Southern California office, protect tipsters throughout the whistleblower lawsuit process.