Beginning in 2005, Allegiance entered into agreements with hospitals located in the Southeastern United States to provide Intensive Outpatient Psychotherapy services to patients who were Medicare beneficiaries on the hospitals’ behalf. The settlement resolves allegations that many patients were provided services that did not qualify for Medicare reimbursement but were billed as such.
Looking for legal information and resources? If so, click to check out Halunen Law’s Whistleblowers blog for articles related to whistleblowing and qui tam.
Halunen Law attorneys Ross Stadheim and Blaine Balow filed a lawsuit in United States District Court—District of Minnesota on behalf of Karen Abbott, a special education teacher in Independent School District 518. The suit claims the district unlawfully retaliated against Ms. Abbott —including harassment and a formal reprimand—because she reported special education violations. Ms. Abbott’s complaints also prompted an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Education.
Contrary to popular rhetoric, there is no Constitutional impediment to outlawing assault weapons. Federal law has banned them before, as evidenced by the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which—unfortunately—was allowed to expire in 2004. Importantly, the Supreme Court has clearly stated that the Second Amendment does not protect assault weapons. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 624-25, 627-28 (2008). Circuit Courts have applied Heller to uphold state and local laws banning the possession of assault weapons and/or large ammunition clips. E.g., Kolbe v. Hogan, 849 F.3d 114 (4th Cir. 2017).
You know when something’s not right at work. Numbers don’t add up. Documentation doesn’t reflect what you know to be true. Safety procedures aren’t being followed. Fraud and illegal activity is a reality at many workplaces, and it’s often you – the employee – who identifies and has the courage to bring that fraud to light. If your employer or government contractor is engaged is some sort of fraud/illegal activity, you may be wondering what you can do about it, what the risks might be to your livelihood and reputation, and whether or not it’s worth it to “blow the whistle.” While whistleblowers have often been labeled “disgruntled employees” by the companies they’re seeking to expose, they are more likely champions of the truth, and there are statutes that both protect and reward whistleblowers for taking a stand.
In its 2016 Annual Review of Corporate Fraud and Corruption, Financier Worldwide magazine reported that, every year, corporate fraud causes companies to lose about 5% of their annual revenue.1 In dollar terms, this converts to trillions of dollars each year lost through fraud worldwide. As a result of this problem, countries globally are introducing new laws relating to anti-bribery and anti-corruption. Many countries are working cooperatively with other jurisdictions to combat fraud. While the United States has been a leader in this regard, other countries like the UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, Canada and Australia have introduced anti-bribery and anti-corruption compliance regulations and have employed robust enforcement activities.2 Further, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption has placed pressure on member nations to implement and enforce anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws.3
MINNEAPOLIS – (Dec. 15, 2016) The MiMedx Group (NASDAQ: MDXG) persistently inflated its quarterly revenue figures over several years, using a fraudulent practice known as “channel stuffing” to book sales of products that customers never ordered, according to a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Halunen Law against the company and its CEO today in federal district court in Minneapolis. When two top company salespeople objected to being part of what they perceived to be a scheme to defraud shareholders and the investing public, senior-level executives retaliated with threats, intimidation, and ultimately, termination, according to the lawsuit.
Honesty is the best policy. It’s one of the first lessons we learn, and yet it seems there is an epidemic of selective memory loss among providers who choose to defraud Medicare. Our journey begins in South Carolina where another medical provider is paying out millions in an effort to put the allegations of wrongdoing behind them.
This past summer, the Justice Department announced that Lexington County Health Services District Inc. d/b/a Lexington Medical Center located in West Columbia, South Carolina, had agreed to a $17 Million settlement. (1) The settlement resolved allegations that the Center had maintained improper financial relationships with physicians they employed and submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare. This is extremely troubling considering a large percentage of their income is from Government funded programs.
People who rely on Medicare are among our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, including the elderly, disabled and terminally ill. In many cases, this is truly their only hope for receiving the medical care they so desperately need, but many could not otherwise afford. Subsequently an extensive body of law protects the rights of these recipients and safeguards the tax payer dollars funding these services with severe penalties for those who choose to ignore them.
Hospice and greed. Two words that are diametrically opposed and when combined—toxic.
At its inception, hospice in America was mostly a philanthropic movement led by volunteers and non-profit entities. Today the hospice industry is big business including a large percentage of for-profit providers. According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC) in 2013 Medicare hospice expenditures alone totaled about $15.1 billion for services rendered by over 3,900 providers. (1)
The hospice movement is built on the core belief that patient dignity and respect are fundamental to providing compassionate care to the dying. When the prognosis of a terminal illness carries a life expectancy of 6 months or less it’s devastating. Hospice includes access to essential medical care along with emotional and psychological support which enables individuals and their loved ones to live as fully as possible in the time remaining while striving to come to terms with saying good-bye.
With changing times and expanding needs, the government finds itself increasingly reliant on the private sector to help deliver an array of services. As the private sector’s role has expanded, one thing remains constant: some businesses cheat—they commit fraud against the government. These deceptive practices date back to the Civil War era.
When a person has knowledge of such fraudulent business practices, they can “blow the whistle” through the False Claims Act. The process is complicated and whistleblowers need knowledgeable legal counsel to provide expertise and guidance, when exploring the possibility of becoming a “relator,” the term used for False Claims Act whistleblowers. Under the False Claims Act, if information provided by the relator ends in a government recovery, relators are compensated with a percentage of the total recovery.
Fraud against the government is nothing new. It’s an age-old problem dating back to the Civil War era when contractors supplied the army with broken guns, sand-packed bullets, lame pack mules, cardboard boots and more. President Lincoln asked Congress for a law setting severe financial penalties those who engaged in the practice. Today, the False Claims Act (FCA) —also known as the original Whistleblower Law—is still a viable way to protect the United States government and people who “blow the whistle” on fraudulent activity. Someone claiming fraud, also known as a relator, can sue a company for its illegal action. If the lawsuit is successful, relators receive a percentage of what the Government recovers.
Halunen Law attorneys have brought FCA cases on behalf of relators across the county. In this video, Halunen Law Founder and Managing Partner Clayton Halunen discusses the law in more detail. If you’re aware of fraudulent activity against the government, the team at Halunen Law is there to help.
Video link: reellawyers.com
Phone: (312) 222-0660
Fax: (612) 605-4099
Phone: (602) 535-2203
Fax: (612) 605-4099