$450 Million Settlement Reached for DaVita Whistleblower Case

$450 Million Settlement Reached for DaVita Whistleblower

$450M Settlement Reached for DaVita Whistleblower

DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. has agreed to pay $450 million to settle whistleblower allegations, according to Daily Report. John Horn, the Acting U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, said the company allegedly caused federal health care programs to be overbilled by manipulating drug doses. “Through personal sacrifice and courage, two whistleblowers exposed knowingly wasteful dosing practices designed simply to increase profits and improperly drain the government’s resources,” Horn said, according to Daily Report. “This settlement returns hundreds of millions of dollars to the Treasury that had been improperly obtained by DaVita through these wasteful practices.”

Two whistleblowers alleged that DaVita, the largest provider of dialysis services in the country, implemented practices that intentionally created excess waste for financial gain. In the past, dialysis providers would be able to receive reimbursement from the federal government for certain waste if the leftover drug from a single-use vial was discarded after the drug is administered. This stopped in 2011, when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services changed the way it reimbursed dialysis centers. Once this occurred, DaVita’s drug wastage decreased substantially.

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SEC Supports and Protects Whistleblowers

SEC Supports and Protects Whistleblowers

SEC Supports and Protects Whistleblowers

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made a conscious effort to support whistleblowers who report fraud. In 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law, and an insider bounty program was put into place. The Act also contained anti-retaliation provisions. Forbes reports that the SEC has shown the program to be a success. More than $50 million in reward payments have been made to whistleblowers in the four years since the program has been in effect.

Whistleblowers from the United States and sixty foreign countries have submitted thousands of tips to the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower since 2011. Seventeen whistleblowers have received awards totaling over $50 million. The commission has pursued companies that retaliated against their employees. Forbes reports that SEC Chair Mary Jo White called the SEC “the whistleblower’s advocate” in a recent speech.

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Homeland Whistleblower Says EB-5 Green Card Program has Security Risks

Whistleblower Says EB-5 Green Card Program has Security Risk

EB-5 Green Card Program has Security Risk

For the first time, a whistleblower has publicly raised concerns about security threats stemming from EB-5, a controversial immigration program that gives Green Cards to wealthy foreigners who agree to invest $500,000. ABC News reports that a Senior Special Agent at the Department of Homeland Security came forward as part of a U.S. Senate Hearing that was held to discuss alleged retaliatory action against insiders who reported wrongdoing.

“During the course of my investigation it became very clear that the EB-5 program has serious security challenges,” she stated, according to ABC News. The whistleblower has conducted an investigation showing that visa applicants whose applications “lacked basic necessary law enforcement” screening were approved in as little as 16 days. Such applicants were from China, Russia, Pakistan and Malaysia.

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D.C. Schools Food Vendor Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit for $19 million

D.C. Food Vendor Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit for $19M

D.C. Food Vendor Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit for $19M

Chartwells and Thompson Hospitality, the largest food vendor for the District’s public school system, has agreed to settle a whistleblower lawsuit for $19 million. The suit, which was filed by a former director of food services, alleged that Chartwells overcharged the city and mismanaged the school meals program, The Washington Post reports. Allegedly, the food frequently arrived late, spoiled or in short supply.

The D.C. attorney general’s office launched an investigation as a result of the whistleblower suit. “It is important to ensure that contractors who receive District funds are held accountable for fulfilling their obligations under the contracts, and today’s settlement does just that.” said Attorney General Karl A. Racine. The company settled the allegations without admitting any fault.

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VA Whistleblower Accuses Agency of Improper Spending on Federal Charge Cards

VA Whistleblower Accuses Agency of Improper Spending

VA Whistleblower Accuses Agency of Improper Spending

Members of a congressional subcommittee were not happy with testimony last week from senior officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at a hearing looking into improper use of federal charge cards.

The hearing was called because of a whistleblower’s 35-page letter that claimed the VA illegally spent up to $6 billion a year through improper use of purchase cards. According to the letter writer, Jan Frye, VA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Logistics, the practice had been going on for years, KUSA-TV (Denver) reports.

House members of the committee were angry over allegations of widespread use of purchase cards in violation of federal regulations. Committee members faulted high-level VA officials for failing to take long-standing complaints seriously, the Washington Post reports.

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DaVita HealthCare Partners Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit for $495 Million

DaVita HealthCare Partners Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit

DaVita HealthCare Partners Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit

DaVita HealthCare Partners has announced that it will pay up to $495 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit. The Denver company is accused of defrauding the federal Medicare program of millions of dollars.

The company, which is not admitting any wrongdoing, has now settled its third whistleblower lawsuit since 2012. DaVita’s payouts total nearly $1 billion, the Denver Post reports.

The civil suit was filed in Atlanta in 2011 and involves a claim by DaVita employees Dr. Alon J. Vainer and nurse Daniel D. Barbir that DaVita was throwing out medicine and but billing Medicare and Medicaid for it according to legal documents. Vainer and Barbir said in court filings that they questioned DaVita about the waste and claimed the company submitted fraudulent claims for reimbursement between 2003 and 2010, according to the Post. In a statement, DaVita Kidney Care CEO Javier Rodriguez said, “Our 67,000 teammates across 11 countries look forward to putting this behind us. We can now renew our focus on collaborating with regulators to avoid situations like this going forward.” DaVita announced the settlement in an April 15 Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

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Perceived Whistleblower in Washington State Awarded $1 Million

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Whistleblower in Washington State Awarded $1M

Whistleblower in Washington State Awarded $1M

A man who was perceived as a whistleblower has been awarded $1 million. The jury verdict, which was issued on March 26, 2015, was issued after finding that the man’s demotion was a retaliatory action by his employer. The plaintiff in the case works for the Washington State Ferry System as a carpenter shop foreman. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff became aware of a co-worker allegedly using a state-owned vehicle to attend baseball games and practices during work hours. He reported this information to his supervisor, who said he would investigate the issue, but did not.

Another person, not the plaintiff, filed an anonymous whistleblower complaint two months later regarding the same issue. Following the complaint, the plaintiff was allegedly subject to retaliatory actions, including performance-related warnings. The co-worker reportedly using the state-owned vehicle was suspended after a year-long investigation, but the plaintiff was still demoted. The demotion was supposedly for performance issues, but the plaintiff alleges that this was retaliation. The jury agreed, and awarded the verdict in his favor after finding that his employer violated the Washington State Employee Whistleblower Protection Act.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit under the Washington State Employee Whistleblower Protection Act. This act protects both actual and “perceived” whistleblowers, defined as “[a]n employee who is perceived by the employer as reporting, whether they did or not, alleged improper governmental action … .”) The jury found that the plaintiff was viewed as a whistleblower and suffered subsequent retaliation.

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Senate Panel Approves Auto Industry Whistleblower Program

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Senate Panel Approves Auto Industry Whistleblower Program

Senate Panel Approves Auto Industry Whistleblower Program

On Thursday, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee unanimously backed legislation that would offer whistleblower incentives to employees in the automobile industry. Reuters reports that all 12 Republican and Democrat members voted in favor of the legislation, sending it to the floor of the Senate. The measure follows recent safety concerns with automakers, including defective General Motors Co ignition switches and Takata Corp air bag inflators.

There is no definitive vote date thus far, said an aide to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. If the full chamber votes in favor of the bill, it would then be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Maine Agrees to Pay $142,000 to Whistleblower who Allegedly Faced Retaliation for Refusing to Shred Public Documents

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Maine Agrees to Pay $142,000 to Whistleblower

Maine Agrees to Pay $142,000 to Whistleblower


A former division director for the Maine Center for Disease Control is to receive $142,000 to settle her whistleblower lawsuit. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services released the settlement agreement on Friday. According to Sun Journal, the whistleblower alleges that she suffered harassment and retaliation for refusing to shred public documents.

The documents were related to funding the Health Maine Partnerships programs, Sun Journal reports. In April 2013, the whistleblower filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission alleging that her bosses ordered her to shred these documents, along with other things.

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Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses NantHealth of Fraud

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Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses NantHealth of Fraud

Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses NantHealth of Fraud


Health technology firm NantHealth is facing a lawsuit filed by two former executives alleging the company committed fraud. According to the New York Times, the wrongful-termination lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Panama City, Fla.

NantHealth’s system is meant to link patient information using different medical devices and pieces of hospital equipment. The company is owned by a billionaire surgeon and business entrepreneur whose business relationships have been scrutinized in the past. Over a decade ago, NYT reported that the surgeon headed a drug company with financial ties to Premier; the major purchaser of supplies for hospitals nationwide is not supposed to have such conflicts of interest.

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Arguments in Katrina Whistleblower Case Appeal Scheduled for February

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Whistleblower_Advisor_Arguments_Katrina_Whistleblower_Case_Appeal_for_FebruaryOral arguments have been scheduled for February in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.’s appeal of an order that it pay legal fees and damages of $3 million in a whistleblower lawsuit. The jury found the insurer defrauded the government in a claim after Hurricane Katrina.

The case was brought in 2006 by Cori and Kerri Rigsby, sisters from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, who worked for an Alabama contractor that provided damages assessments to State Farm after the August 2005 hurricane, The Associated Press (AP) reports.
In 2013, a jury found that State Farm avoided covering a policyholder’s wind losses by categorizing it as water damage from the storm surge, which is covered by federal flood insurance.

The sisters pursued cases for a number of policyholders, but only one came to trial, the case of Thomas and Pamela McIntosh. The McIntoshes lost their Biloxi, Mississippi, home to the storm. The sisters allege State Farm defrauded the McIntoshes by manipulating engineers’ reports so claims could be denied, according to the AP. The Rigsbys also alleged that State Farm’s fraud against the National Flood Insurance Program was widespread along the Mississippi coast.

State Farm says it correctly assessed the McIntoshes’ damage and never instructed its adjusters to wrongly process claims as flood damage, nor did it withhold a report that showed the home had been destroyed by wind as the Rigbys alleged.

At State Farm’s direction, the flood insurance program paid the Macintoshes the policy limits of $250,000, the AP reports. State Farm initially paid the couple $36,000 for wind damage on a policy that provided more than $500,000 in coverage, according to court documents.

U.S. District Judge Halil S. Ozerden ordered State Farm to pay $750,000 in damages to the government. Under the federal False Claims Act, a whistleblower law dating back to the Civil War, individuals may sue on behalf of the government and receive a portion of funds recovered if the case is successful. If damages are upheld on appeal, the Rigsbys will each receive 15 percent of the $750,000 judgment, according to the AP.

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National Law Firm, Parker Waichman LLP, Seeks Increased Transparency and Ethics from the Pharmaceutical Industry in the New Year

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In the new year, Parker Waichman LLP hopes for increased testing, safety, and efficacy in the processes and promotions used by Big Pharma so that consumers may be confident that they are receiving safe and effective medications that were ethically developed, tested, and marketed.

Parker Waichman, a national law firm that has long been an advocate for victims of defective medications is urging the pharmaceutical industry, as we approach a new year, to step up the ways in which it develops, tests, inspects, and markets medications.

In the new year, Parker Waichman is seeking increased transparency and accountability from all drug makers, with the hope that patient welfare is made the key priority and placed before drug approval activities and profits.

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