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Whistleblower Awarded More Than $7 Million for Reporting Fraudulent Medicare Billing

By: Allan M. Siegel

The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced that Fort Myers, Florida-based cancer treatment provider 21st Century Oncology will pay $34.7 million to settle allegations that it billed Medicare for medically-unnecessary procedures. The lawsuit was initially filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows individuals to work with an attorney and recover a share of a verdict or settlement.

Whistleblower Attorney in DCThe whistleblower in this case was Dr. Joseph Ting, a former physicist who came forward and revealed the company’s fraud against the taxpayer-funded Medicare and TRICARE programs. Under the terms of the agreement, Dr. Ting will be awarded more than $7 million for blowing the whistle on healthcare fraud. The whistleblower lawsuit alleged that 21st Century Oncology performed a medical procedure on patients called the Gamma function where it served no legitimate medical purpose. The Gamma function procedure measures radiation emitting from patients after cancer treatments. The lawsuit alleged that 21st Century billed for these procedures before doctors and radiation physicists had been trained to interpret and use results from the Gamma function. Dr. Ting stated that he refused to perform the unnecessary tests and quit his position.

The False Claims Act outlaws fraudulent billing of Medicare and other taxpayer-funded health care programs. It also provides financial incentives for whistleblowers to work with private attorneys to bring credible claims of financial fraud against taxpayer-funded programs.

This $34.7 million settlement follows on the heels of another multimillion-dollar settlement paid by 21st Century Oncology. In December 2015, 21st Century Oncology paid $19.75 million to settle allegations that it billed Medicare for medically-unnecessary laboratory urine tests. The whistleblower lawsuit also alleged physicians were paid cash bonuses based on how many tests they performed.

21st Century has four locations in Maryland - Greenbelt, Salisbury, Berlin, and Bel Air. The healthcare company is a wholly owned subsidiary of South Florida Radiation Oncology, LLC. If, like Dr. Joseph Ting, you have credible information relating to healthcare fraud committed upon taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare, TRICARE, and Medicaid, please contact the whistleblower attorneys with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.

Under the law, whistleblowers are eligible for a cash reward of between 15 and 30 percent of a settlement or verdict in a False Claims Act claim. Because strict deadlines and first-to-file requirements may apply to filing a whistleblower claim, we recommend contacting us at your earliest convenience. Consultations are prompt and confidential.