June 28, 2022

Volume XII, Number 179

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June 28, 2022

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June 27, 2022

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Hearing Aid Company Agrees To Pay $34.37 Million To Settle Claims That It Submitted False Claims to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program

Headlines that Matter for Companies and Executives in Regulated Industries

Hearing Aid Company Agrees To Pay $34.37 Million To Settle Claims That It Submitted False Claims to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program

On Friday, April 29th, DOJ announced a $34.37 million settlement with Eargo Inc., a California company that sells and dispenses hearing aids, relating to allegations that Eargo submitted false claims for reimbursement to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). FEHBP — the largest employer-sponsored health insurance program in the world — is administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and provides health benefits to eight million current and former federal employees and their families through various health insurance providers.

According to the government, Eargo submitted or caused the submission of claims for reimbursements to FEHBP for hearing aids between January 1st, 2017, and January 31st, 2021, which included unsupported diagnosis codes. Eargo also allegedly provided invoices to FEHBP beneficiaries that the beneficiaries, in turn, used to obtain reimbursement from FEHBP, reflecting unsupported hearing-loss-related diagnostic codes. In addition, the government alleged that Eargo knowingly used unsupported hearing-loss-related diagnostic codes between February 1st, 2021, and September 22nd, 2021, even after Eargo completed an internal review of its billing and coding practices in January 2021.

The DOJ press release is here.

DOJ Brings FCA Claims Against Maryland Contractor for Improper Steering

The Department of Justice announced on Tuesday, May 3rd, that it has filed a False Claims Act lawsuit against Intelligent Fiscal Optimal Solutions LLC (iFOS) and its owner, alleging that iFOS coordinated with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official to steer the award of a contract for staff augmentation services. According to the complaint, iFOS worked with DHS official Kenneth Buck to secure the contract prior to his departure, with plans for Buck to serve as iFOS’ Strategic Advisor for the contract following his departure. Federal conflict-of-interest rules require a mandatory “cooling off” period for certain former government officials, including Buck. During the “cooling off” period, Buck was prohibited from communicating directly with DHS officials on behalf of iFOS. iFOS allegedly concealed Buck’s involvement and falsely represented to DHS that another iFOS employee would serve as Strategic Advisor.  

The government also alleges that iFOS submitted falsified invoices to DHS, concealing the extensive work performed by Buck. According to the DOJ, Buck settled civil claims relating to his role in the alleged scheme earlier this month.

The DOJ press release is here.

 

© 2022 ArentFox Schiff LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 126
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About this Author

D. Jacques Smith Attorney Litigation ArentFox Schiff Washington DC
Partner and Complex Litigation Practice Co-Leader

Jacques focuses his practice on government investigations and enforcement. Recognized as one of the top False Claims Act practitioners in the country, his clients largely encompass all branches of health care and life sciences. He has more than 30 years of experience handling jury, bench, and administrative trials in a variety of civil and criminal cases in state and federal courts throughout the country. Jacques excels at handling complex commercial disputes and internal investigations and responding to government inquiries. 

Jacques is...

202-857-6154
Randall A. Brater Litigation Attorney ArentFox Schiff Washington DC
Partner

Randy routinely litigates high-stakes matters in state and federal courts, including preliminary injunctions, motions practice, jury and bench trials, arbitrations, and mediation.

Randy often handles matters related to investigations and the False Claims Act, municipal bond finance, and trademark litigation. Randy also has represented agricultural chemical manufacturers in numerous data compensation disputes arising under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), environmental actions under CERCLA, employment, trade secret...

202-715-8472
Michael F. Dearington Attorney White Collar Defense ArentFox Schiff Washington DC
Associate

Mike is a highly sought-after advocate who provides advice to corporate and individual clients in connection with a range of difficult legal issues, and represents clients in high-stakes litigation and investigations. Many of Mike’s clients are in the health care and life sciences industries.

Mike routinely counsels clients on matters involving the False Claims Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and federal securities laws, as well as complex commercial litigation and white-collar defense matters. He frequently writes and speaks on these...

202-715-8495
Nadia Patel Business Litigation Lawyer ArentFox Schiff
Associate

Nadia regularly represents individuals and businesses involved in a variety of commercial litigation in state and federal court, including cases involving contract claims, Lanham Act violations, and litigation arising out of corporate transactions.  Recently, Nadia has represented foreign companies in civil litigation involving alleged violations of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act.  Nadia also represents employers in employment-related litigation, including matters involving violations of restrictive covenants, the Defend Trade Secret Act, and state trade secret...

202-775-5716
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