A Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of sleep apnea masks is on the hook for millions of dollars due to alleged violations of the False Claims Act. According to the Department of Justice, Respironics Inc. has agreed to pay $34.8 million for paying illegal kickbacks to durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers that purchased its sleep apnea masks. The kickbacks came in the form of free call center services for the DME suppliers. The DOJ said the company provided some suppliers with the free service between April 2012 and November 2015 while charging other suppliers a monthly fee “based on the number of patients who used masks manufactured by a competitor of Respironics.” Contact a Boston Whistleblower Lawyer Today.
South Carolina Whistleblower to Receive $5.38 Million for Exposing Fraud
The whistleblower who exposed the violations being committed by Respironics Inc. was a South Carolina pharmacist by the name of Gibran Ameer. Ameer worked for various DME suppliers. Of the total $348.8 million settlement, $34.14 million will go to the federal government, $660,000 will go to state governments based on Medicaid participation, and $5.38 million will go to Ameer for his role in exposing the company’s fraudulent activities. Under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, private citizens with knowledge of fraudulent acts against the government are permitted to file a lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. government and share in any recovered funds.
“The payment of illegal remuneration in any form to induce patient referrals threatens public confidence in the health care system,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Americans deserve to know that when they are prescribed a device to treat a serious health care problem, the supplier’s judgment has not been compromised by illegal payments from equipment manufacturers.”
False Claims Act has Helped Recover Billions in Health Care Fraud Since 2009
The U.S. government is coming down hard on health care fraud. The lawsuit against Respironics Inc. is yet another achievement for the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), which was launched in 2009 to combat health care fraud. HEAT, a partnership between the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General, focuses primarily on reducing and preventing fraud against Medicare and Medicaid. As a result of the False Claims Act, more than $17.4 billion has been recovered in health care fraud cases since 2009.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Whistleblower Attorneys Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas
If you have unique information about acts of fraud against the U.S. government, the whistleblower attorneys at Altman & Altman, LLP can help you determine how to move forward. We understand the sensitive nature of these cases, and we will make sure you understand your rights and options. Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers are entitled to receive up to 30% of recovered funds. Considering that settlements are often in the tens of millions, the whistleblower’s share can be quite substantial. And this is no accident. The U.S. government purposely incentivizes private citizens in an effort to protect the safety and well-being of the general public. Health care fraud can undermine the integrity of the entire health care system, at the expense of the general public. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.