October 20, 2014 — The federal False Claims Act allows health care insiders to bring a whistleblower lawsuit on behalf of the United States. The government relies on tipsters to protect the integrity of our federal healthcare programs for those who need them. When doctors harm patients and bilk the system by overbilling Medicare for cancer treatments that are unnecessary, they put the continued viability of Medicare benefits at risk. Whistleblowers, who are also called “relators,” are entitled to a portion of the government’s recovery under the statute’s qui tam provisions. The United States may choose to intervene in the lawsuit and assume primary control for the case. The statute provides for a significant recovery equivalent to three times the actual damages plus civil penalties.
Oncologist Near Detroit Administered Chemotherapy To Patients Who Didn’t Need It And Then Billed Medicare For $225 Million
Farid Fata, M.D., a hematologist-oncologist practicing near Detroit, Michigan, has pleaded guilty to several counts of Medicare fraud in connection with the administration of unnecessary chemotherapy treatments for Medicare beneficiaries. Over six years, the Doctor sought $225 million in unjustified Medicare reimbursement claims. Medicare reportedly paid Fata more than $91 million.
Fata owned a cancer treatment clinic, Michigan Hematology Oncology, P.C., with several locations in Michigan. In addition he owned United Diagnostics PLLC, a diagnostic testing clinic also located in Michigan. He has admitted to using his clinics to administer chemotherapy and other cancer treatments and therapies that patients did not need just so he could bill the unnecessary treatments to Medicare and private insurers.
As part of the scheme, Fata also requested kickbacks from local hospice and home healthcare facilities in return for his referral of patients. In addition, Fata used the proceeds from the fraudulent Medicare scheme he conducted at his cancer treatment clinics to fund even more health care fraud at his diagnostic testing clinic where he submitted patients for unnecessary PET (positron emission tomography) scans and then billed a private insurance company.
False Claims Act Lawsuits Target 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 or call our qui tam attorneys at 855.784.0268 to learn more about our practice and how we can work together to notify the government about fraudulent abuses of government-funded programs. George Tankard and Anne Izzo, qui tam lawyers in Waters & Kraus’ Maryland office, protect tipsters throughout the whistleblower lawsuit process.