$450 Million Settlement Reached for DaVita Whistleblower Case

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$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.

According to the whistleblowers, DaVita created excess waste by prescribing and billing for vials of drugs that were larger than the doses being administered. Allegedly, the company instructed its employees to use “dosing grids” when providing prescription medications to patients. For instance, DaVita was accused of implementing protocols requiring nurses to administer iron supplements in small and frequent intervals in order to create the most waste; no waste would have been generated if they were instructed to use a single monthly dose, prosecutors said.

Initially, federal prosecutors chose not to get involved in the case. This changed when the company was sanctioned by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Charles Pannell Jr., who said that “a disturbing pattern of alterations” in witnesses’ testimony caused him to consider further sanctions.