Piedmont Healthcare settles false claims allegations for $16 million

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Piedmont Healthcare settles false claims allegations for $16 million

John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | June 30, 2020

The False Claims Act prevents individuals and companies from defrauding the government, and allows individuals with information on false claims or overcharges to come forward. The Georgia False Medicaid Claims Act mirrors the False Claims Act and prohibits any person or entity from submitting a false or fraudulent claim to the state of Georgia, including Medicaid.

The healthcare system was also accused of paying a commercially unreasonable and above fair market value for a catheterization lab partly owned by Atlanta Cardiology Group. The purchase occurred in 2007 when it acquired the physician practice group, and was deemed in the suit to be a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

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The DOJ awarded the whistleblower a relator’s share of $2,967,400. The action involved claims for retaliatory and discriminatory behavior that Piedmont is alleged to have shown to the whistleblower. This included but was not limited to his or her wages (including front and back pay as well as interest thereon) and benefits and any and all other relief afforded to them under the law. The claims of retaliation were resolved as part of the settlement.

“Billing the government for unnecessary inpatient services wastes precious government resources and taxpayer dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, in a statement. “All appropriate action will be taken to ensure that beneficiaries of federal healthcare programs received services untainted by overcharges and improper financial incentives.”

All claims in the case have been resolved.

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