Tenet Hospitals To Pay $514M To Settle Kickback Scheme Involving Pregnant Undocumented Women
Tenet Healthcare Corporation and two of its Atlanta-area subsidiaries have agreed to pay over $513 million to resolve criminal and civil claims accusing the hospitals of paying kickbacks in exchange for referrals of pregnant, undocumented Medicaid patients. The two Tenet subsidiaries also agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government.
According to the criminal complaint, Tenet hospitals paid kickbacks to prenatal care clinics to refer pregnant, undocumented Hispanic women to Tenet facilities, which would in turn bill Medicaid for deliveries. As part of the alleged scheme, the women were told that Medicaid would only pay for childbirth and newborn care if they delivered at Tenet hospitals. Such illegal financial relationships between hospitals and referral sources “exploit vulnerable populations and threaten to drive up the cost of healthcare for everyone,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer in a press release issued by the Department of Justice.
The case was filed under the federal and Georgia False Claims Acts (FCA). The law allows whistleblowers to file suit for false claims against the government entities and to share in any recovery. The whistleblower’s share in this case is over $84 million.
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Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP focuses on complex civil litigation, including securities, antitrust, consumer class actions, shareholder derivative litigation and whistleblower (Qui Tam) litigation. The firm is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices in California, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Since its founding in 1995, Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP has served as lead or co-lead counsel in numerous high-profile cases which ultimately provided significant recoveries to investors, consumers and employees.
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About T. Talyana Bromberg
Talyana Bromberg is a partner in Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP’s Pennsylvania office and chair of its False Claims Litigation group. Ms. Bromberg focuses her practice on representing whistleblowers in Medicare and Medicaid fraud cases, educational, financial, tax, defense contractors’ fraud and matters involving bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Ms. Bromberg was a lead attorney representing whistleblower Ronald Streck in the lawsuits against pharmaceutical manufacturers AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Cephalon, Inc., and Biogen Inc. relating to underpayment of Medicaid rebates, with a settlement totaling $55.5 million. She represented whistleblowers in pharmaceutical lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories related to off-label promotion and payment of kickbacks for anti-seizure drug Depakote that resulted in a $1.6 billion settlement; against GlaxoSmithKline related to unlawful marketing tactics and kickbacks for GSK drug Advair for a $1.04 billion settlement; and against Pfizer for alleged illegal promotion of its kidney transplant drug Rapamune, resulting in $257 million settlement.
The False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to sue those who commit fraud against the government and to receive between 15 and 30 percent of the recovered funds. The law covers fraud involving any government-funded contract or program, including Medicare, Medicaid, military, transportation, housing, educational, agricultural, or other program. Separate IRS, SEC and CFTC whistleblower programs cover federal tax fraud, securities and commodities fraud. Since 1986, whistleblowers have helped the government to recover more than $40 billion by bringing lawsuits under the federal and state False Claims Acts.