April 23, 2013 — The University of California has consented to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit brought by Dennis O’Connor, a former UC-Irvine anesthesiologist and School of Medicine professor. The 2008 lawsuit alleged that UC-Irvine billed the government for anesthesia given to patients by nurses when supervisory anesthesiologists were not present. The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act allow inside professionals like O’Connor to file suit on the government’s behalf and to share in the proceeds of any settlement. Tipsters often come from inside a health care provider’s operations because employees are in the best position to notice when something is amiss.
According to The Daily Californian, O’Connor alleged that UC-Irvine would falsify patient records by “pre-filling” anesthesia records so it would seem as though a supervisory anesthesiologist was present. In addition, unsupervised and unlicensed residents would complete post-operative patient evalutions increasing the odds that patients’ post-operative complications might be missed.
To settle the allegations, the University of California has agreed to pay $1.2 million. O’Connor will receive $120,000 of that amount.
Conscientious Insiders Blow the Whistle on Medicare Fraud
False Claims Act violations involving falsified medical records are reported often by concerned insiders like Dr. O’Connor. Sometimes violations are reported by a practitioner and other times, it will be accounting or billing personnel who notice that something is not adding up. It all depends on the type of misconduct involved. Informants who are brave enough to buck the system deserve to learn more about their own legal interests prior to notifying the government. With whistleblower lawyers in northern and southern California, Waters & Kraus offers government collaborators the experienced legal representation they need. Contact us or call our Medicare fraud attorneys at 800.226.9880 to discuss how we can protect and maximize your interests.