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The Whistleblower Blog

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Presented by Hodgson Russ, the Whistleblower Blog is written by a team of lawyers experienced in successfully guiding both whistleblowers and companies accused by whistleblowers of wrongdoing through the False Claims Act process.

Showing 3 posts from January 2012.

Government Statistics Show Upward Trend in False Claims Act Settlements

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Data released by the U.S. Department of Justice reveal a substantial increase in False Claims Act recoveries over the past two years. These statistics, along with comments from Department of Justice officials, indicate that the False Claims Act whistleblower provisions have become the government’s tool of choice in attacking fraud, particularly in the health care and pharmaceutical industries.

During fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, the Department of Justice secured more than $3 billion through settlements and judgments in civil cases involving fraud against the government. This marked the second year in a row where the Department of Justice reached or exceeded $3 billion. Since January 2009, the Department of Justice has recovered approximately $8.7 billion. This is the largest three-year total in the Justice Department’s history.

False Claims Act Violations: When Is a Claim 'False'?

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Parties frequently battle over whether the conduct at issue was “false” such that False Claims Act liability is appropriate. Courts have recognized two types of false claims: factually false claims and legally false claims. A factually false claim is false as to a matter of fact (for example, a claim to have provided goods that were never provided). A legally false claim involves false certifications of compliance with laws or regulations that are prerequisites to payment. Courts have further divided legally false claims into express certification and implied certification claims.

Inflated Charges to Medicare for Radiopharmaceutical Lead to $30 Million False Claims Act Settlement

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Late last week, the Justice Department announced that a large for-profit health care concern has joined the growing list of health care companies settling False Claims Act cases. In this case, the business will pay the government $30 million plus interest to settle allegations that one of its recently acquired (2004) affiliates violated the FCA by causing Medicare to overpay for a radiopharmaceutical used in certain cardiac diagnostic imaging procedures. According to the Justice Department press release, the pharmaceutical is “distributed in multi-dose vials of powder. In a process known as reconstitution, nuclear pharmacies mix the powder with a radioactive agent to prepare individual doses that are injected into patients as part of the cardiac imaging procedures.” Medicare payment was based, in part, on the number of doses available from vials of the drug. The government alleged that the affiliate provided false or misleading information regarding the number of doses available from vials, causing Medicare to pay artificially inflated rates.

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Hodgson Russ is one of only a few major law firms that represents both whistleblowers and companies accused by whistleblowers of wrongdoing. This unusual perspective means we are exceptionally well positioned to advise whistleblowers about potential claims.

We are not a "whistleblower mill" that pays little attention to the needs of its clients or the factual nuances of complex cases. Rather, we are a team of highly experienced lawyers that selects only the best cases, affording us the time and focus to become fully immersed in the factual and legal details necessary to bring cases to successful resolution.