$12.24 Million Settlement for Medicaid False Claims Act Allegations – CHRISTUS Health to Pay U.S. Government
CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center (St. Vincent) of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and partner CHRISTUS Health (CHRISTUS), of Irving, Texas, agreed to pay the United States government $12.24 million to settle allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by “making illegal donations to county governments, which were used to fund the state share of Medicaid payments to the hospital[.]”
There are federal laws in place that require the use of state or county money for programs where the state seeks federal matching funds. The use of private funds or “donations” from hospitals is not permitted. The Department of Justice states: “This restriction on the use of private hospital funds to satisfy state Medicaid obligations was enacted by Congress to curb possible abuses and ensure that states have sufficient incentive to curb rising Medicaid costs.”
The lawsuit against St. Vincent and CHRISTUS alleged that the companies made non-bona fide donations between 2001 and 2009, which caused the state of New Mexico to present false Medicare claims to the federal government. U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney for the District of New Mexico said, “This case illustrates our commitment to ensuring that government funds are legally obtained and used for their intended purposes. We will use all available civil remedies to recover the ill-gotten gains obtained by those who defraud government health care programs.” The claims settled under this agreement were allegations only and no determination of liability was made.
Whistleblower Will Receive $2.249 Million From The Settlement
The allegations against St. Vincent and CHRISTUS were originally brought in a lawsuit by a former Los Alamos County, New Mexico Indigent Healthcare Administrator filed under the Qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.
The False Claims Act permits private parties to sue on behalf of the government for false claims for government funds and to receive a share of any recovery made by the government. It rewards “whistleblowers” if their Qui tam case is successful and recovers funds for the government. In this case the whistleblower will receive $2.249 million as her share of the recovery in this case.
Our Law Firm Helps Protect Whistleblowers
If you are a whistleblower with evidence that your employer is engaging in criminal acts, we are prepared to rigorously protect your rights.
Whistleblowers can certainly benefit from the help of an experienced Qui tam attorney. When you hire Ashley D. Adams, PLC to handle your Qui tam case, we will guide you through the bureaucratic labyrinth of the federal False Claims Act. We will protect your rights as an employee. And we will help you get the financial reward to which you may be entitled if the information you provide leads to prosecution and the recovery of money for the government.
Contact us or call now (480) 219-1366 for a consultation. There is no substitute for the type of experience and diligent legal representation that a high-quality attorney can provide.
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