A whistleblower’s False Claims Act lawsuit against TeamHealth Holdings, successor in interest to IPC Healthcare, has led to a recovery of more than $131,000 for the state of North Carolina, Attorney General Josh Stein announced May 16.
North Carolina’s settlement is part of a $60 million deal reached between TeamHealth Holdings and the federal government in February resolving allegations that the hospital staffing firm overcharged federal and state health care programs for the services it performed.
“People who defraud Medicare and Medicaid are stealing your hard-earned taxpayer dollars,” Attorney General Stein said in a statement. “I will do everything in my power to protect the taxpayer from fraud and abuse of these and other programs.”
TeamHealth acquired IPC Healthcare in November 2015, affirming at the time IPC’s liabilities would be part of the $1.6 billion acquisition.
Dr. Bijan Oughatiyan, a physician formerly employed by IPC as a hospitalist, filed the original lawsuit under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private parties to sue on behalf of the federal government in cases of suspected fraud. Federal prosecutors investigated Dr. Oughatiyan’s claims and chose to back the case.
The lawsuit contended that IPC knowingly and systematically encouraged false billings by its hospitalists, medical professionals specializing in the medical care of hospitalized patients.
The complaint also alleged that IPC encouraged its hospitalists to bill for a higher level of service than it actually provided. IPC’s scheme to improperly maximize billings allegedly included corporate pressure on hospitalists with lower billing levels to “catch up” to their peers, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
North Carolina’s portion of the settlement covers Medicaid program funds affected by IPC’s alleged wrongdoing.
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Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, the FCA can protect and reward you for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, please contact an attorney at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on this website, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould or Andrew Brashier.
U.S. Department of Justice