Plaza Health Network, a 60 year old company with seven skilled nursing rehabilitation homes in South Florida, settled a whistleblower lawsuit with the US Government this week. The company, formerly known as the Hebrew Homes Health Network, agreed to settle the case with the US Federal Bureau of Investigations, the US Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In 2012, the company’s then-chief financial officer, Stephen Beaujon, got wind of some dirty business dealings. He alleged that the company was hiring sham medical directors who were paid to refer patients to Plaza Health Network’s facilities. In his whistleblower lawsuit, Beaujon said the company was creating false records to hide the Medicaid and Medicare bill fraud scheme.
After a full investigation, the US government joined the qui tam lawsuit and determined that Plaza Health fraudulently collected about $130 million in bogus fees from the government healthcare system in the three years leading up to 2011.
This case, the costliest settlement paid by a US nursing home for violating the Anti-Kickback Statute, is a prime example of how good people who can’t live with fraud can do good and stand to profit as well. Many people around the country are working for companies that, unfortunately, are trying to get over on the federal government by participating in fraud schemes. When an employee at one of these companies, or someone else with information, comes forward and agrees to “blow the whistle” the government may choose to get involved and go after the wrongdoers. If the cases is successful, the whistleblower can make a percentage of the damages recouped by the government.
If you suspect your employer is involved with Medicare fraud or another other scheme to bilk the US government, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer who will review your claims and determine if you have a case worth pursuing. Begelman & Orlow will protect your rights as they pursue justice under the False Claims Act laws.