Whistleblowers in a case involving Florida doctors’ offices are set to get nearly $2 million after reporting illegal billing practices that allegedly violated the False Claims Act.
The unnamed whistleblowers came forward with allegations against Rose Radiology Centers in Tampa, FL and Dr. David Spellberg’s medical practice in Fort Myers, FL. According to federal prosecutors, the whistleblowers tipped off authorities to numerous violations of the False Claims Act. The doctors reportedly billed federal medical programs for countless tests and procedures that were unnecessary.
Now the doctors have reached a resolution in their cases. As part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, the Florida doctors will have to pay nearly $10 million to the federal government in order to make up for the doctors’ violations of the False Claims Act.
Rose Radiology Centers faced the most severe fines in the case, so they will be paying the bulk of the money: $8.7 million. Federal authorities said that the Tampa medical practice performed radiology procedures for cancer patients even though the procedures had not actually been requested by the patients’ doctors.
Moreover, it was alleged that Rose Radiology referred specific physicians to patients so that the medical company could receive illegal kickbacks, a clear violation of federal statutes and health care fraud laws. These kinds of self-referrals are often referred to as “Stark violations” and can lead to severe penalties when federal government bodies learn of the kickback fraud.
The rest of the fines imposed in the case – approximately $1 million – will be paid by Dr. Spellberg, who allegedly ordered a number of unnecessary urine tests for his patients and then fraudulently billed the government.
Meanwhile, the whistleblowers who filed qui tam actions under the Federal False Claims Act were able to receive large portions of the money recovered by the federal government as rewards for coming forward with vital information about the violations. The multiple whistleblowers in the case involving Rose Radiology received $1.7 million, while the sole whistleblower in the case involving Dr. Spellberg received nearly $200K.
For additional information about the recent Florida qui tam cases, read the NBCMiami.com article, “Florida Doctors Resolve False Claims Allegations.”
If you have knowledge of fraud being perpetrated against the federal government or the state government, whether it involves Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud or any other kind of healthcare fraud, you may be entitled to a large financial reward. Contact the experienced whistleblower and qui tam attorneys at Begelman & Orlow, P. C. today to discuss your options.