Former Outpatient Service Company Charged $1.85 Million for Violating the False Claims Act, Defrauding Veterans
A Cincinnati-based outpatient health services company will pay $1.85 million to resolve allegations of the False Claims Act, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today. The DOJ accused Sterling Medical Associates Inc. (Sterling) of submitting false claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by failing to schedule veteran’s medical appointments at two clinics in Minnesota.
A contract awarded to Sterling by the VA in 2013 included requirements to schedule appointments within 14 days of the veteran’s requested appointment date. The DOJ alleged that, between July 2013 and April 2014, Sterling did not schedule patient appointments in compliance with these requirements and changed requested appointment dates to make wait times appear shorter.
“We expect companies doing business with the government to comply with their contractual obligations, particularly when they relate to the health of our veterans,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “The Department is committed to ensuring that our veterans receive the timely medical care that they need and deserve.”
Whistleblowers who report Medicare fraud under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act are eligible for monetary awards. If the United States decides to intervene in their case, whistleblowers can receive between 15% and 25% of the total recovery. If the government does not intervene in their case, the whistleblower can move forward with the assistance of a whistleblower attorney and receive an award of not less than 25% and not more than 30% of the recoveries made.
Ben Kostyack also contributed to this article.