On January 26, 2016, healthcare CEO Dr. Robert Dannenhoffer filed a $10,000,000.00 “whistleblower” lawsuit in Federal Court in Eugene, Oregon against his former employer, Architrave Health, LLC. That suit underscores that healthcare employers not only face liability under the False Claims Act and/or the Stark Act for Medicare fraud, but also liability to their employees if they punish them for exposing their healthcare fraud to the government, i.e. for “whistleblowing”.
In 2013, Dannenhoffer was a founder of Architrave Health, LLC, which in 2015 he pressed to self-report to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services roughly $10,000,000.00 in improper Medicare payments to its subsidiary, Umpqua Medical Group. Architrave reluctantly complied, yet only 3 weeks later fired Dannenhoffer for unspecified failure to “cooperate and coordinate”.
Dannenhoffer alleges “Umpqua Medical Group set up a compensation structure that paid its doctors more every time they prescribed certain drugs and procedures for their Medicare patients”. The Stark Act “restricts doctors’ ability to refer patients to hospitals or clinics in which they have a financial interest,” e.g., “prevents physicians from doing self-referrals and receiving kickbacks and rebates from medical facilities and is punishable by civil penalties up to $100,000.00”.
Do you know about Medicare, Medicaid and/or other fraud committed by your employer or a healthcare provider? If so, contact Mr. Waterman.