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Milwaukee Employment Law Blog

ACLU: Bill would roll back rights of people with disabilities

It has been 28 years since Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act. The landmark legislation pushed businesses to recognize that people with disabilities have rights, too.

A legislative proposal recently unveiled in the House of Representatives will undo one of the key tenets of the ADA and "roll back the rights of people with disabilities," the American Civil Liberties Union says.

Whistleblower awarded roughly $2.9 million in MRI scan lawsuit

We have discussed a variety of ways that healthcare providers may try to bend the rules to obtain more money from programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Upcoding is a common issue in healthcare fraud. This occurs when the provider uses the billing code assigned to a more expensive procedure or service than was actually provided. Charging the government for services that were never provided is also common. An interesting twist that seems to fall somewhere between these two common kings of healthcare fraud schemes arose in a recent whistleblower lawsuit on the East Coast.

No Supervising Physician, Despite Medicare Rules

An employee of an MRI provider says the imaging company was performing contrast MRI scans of patients, according to the lawsuit. Dye is injected into the patient in these procedures to enhance the contrast in the final images, making it easier to observe certain types of tissue. However, the worker says that he noticed there was no medical doctor personally supervising the procedure. Medicare rules require these procedures to be personally supervised by a physician. Obviously, the physician's fees are built in to the billing code.

Proposal would slash Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave benefits

Under a recent proposal in the Wisconsin State Assembly, some part-time workers would lose Family and Medical Leave benefits. The proposal would allow businesses to deny benefits to those who work between 19 and 24 hours per week.

A recent article on the Wisconsin Public Radio website says those workers would no longer be eligible to receive two weeks of paid leave to care for a sick child, spouse or parent. The Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act also ensures that employees can get two weeks of paid leave to care for their own serious health issues.

Whistleblower uncovers 'Pill Mill' scheme in chiropractic clinics

A chiropractic management company operating four pain clinics in Tennessee has agreed to settle a whistleblower lawsuit involving opioid prescriptions. A former office manager for the chiropractic and pain management company noticed medical and billing discrepancies. The worker brought the information forward in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the federal False Claims Act (FCA).

Unnecessary Prescriptions and Upcoding Discovered

Scores of sexual harassment claims in University of Wisconsin system

A culture of sexual harassment has existed for decades at far too many businesses in Milwaukee and across the nation. Unfortunately, it has become apparent in recent days that even students and faculty at Wisconsin's universities have been subjected to sexual harassment, retaliation, sexual assault and other forms of misconduct.

According to news reports, two- and four-year schools in the University of Wisconsin system have investigated nearly 100 sexual harassment claims since 2014.

Whistleblower lawsuit is a warning to wholesalers and retailers

Even if you are not directly responsible for breaking federal law in a scheme to avoid import duties, you might find yourself under the microscope of prosecutors. That is one of the takeaways from the recently announced settlement of a whistleblower lawsuit against a clothing wholesaler.

What makes the settlement noteworthy is that the wholesaler was not responsible for filing customs documents or paying import duties. The clothing importer also had those obligations. Yet a lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act against the wholesaler recently resulted in a $1 million settlement in what could well be a harbinger of things to come.

Wisconsin settled harassment claims, but kept supervisor on job

Last year, Wisconsin officials agreed to settle claims by a female state prison employee who said her supervisor kissed her, mistreated her and then fired her. The state then allowed the Racine Correctional Institution supervisor to stay in her job.

Several other women who worked there also lodged complaints about the supervisor, alleging that they endured sexual harassment, and in some cases, suffered retaliation for reporting the harassment, according to documents filed in federal court in Milwaukee.

Pharmacist awarded more than $9 million in whistleblower lawsuit

Kmart Corp. has agreed to settle a health care fraud lawsuit that alleged the big-box retailer overcharged state and federal health care programs for prescription medications. The case came to light after a pharmacist noted discrepancies in what the pharmacy chain charged Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare for generic drugs. For his involvement in coming forward with the lawsuit, the pharmacist will receive $9.3 million of the settlement. That is 29 percent of the $32.3 million overall, according to NBC News.

The lawsuit was filed under the "qui tam" provision of the False Claims Act. As we have discussed, federal law allows private citizens to initiate a lawsuit on behalf of the government when there is evidence of fraud in government contracts. The health care industry, in all of its wide-ranging aspects including pharmaceutical services, continues to face a large number of federal whistleblower claims. These lawsuits allow the government to recover taxpayer money obtained through fraudulent billing practices.

New tax law creates, then removes medical leave benefit

Much of Milwaukee's news coverage over the last few weeks of the year revolved around the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The bill was introduced on Nov. 2 by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and others and signed into law on Dec. 22.

The hotly debated law made sweeping changes to corporate and individual taxation. While some aspects of the proposal were widely publicized and discussed, one aspect received little attention: the TCJA created a new tax credit for employers who pay wages for family leave or medical leave. The new credit ranges from 12.5 percent to 25 percent, according to news outlets.

Kmart whistleblower to receive $9.3 million in settlement

Kmart's financial struggles over the past few years have been well publicized. The retail outlet has closed hundreds of stores, with 45 more scheduled to lock their doors in early 2018. (According to the retailer’s website, it currently has 8 Wisconsin stores, including one a few miles south of Milwaukee.) So it's understandable that executives looked for ways to increase income for the chain.

One revenue-enhancer has come to a stop for the once-formidable retailer, however. Kmart Corp. has agreed to pay more than $32 million to settle claims that its pharmacies overbilled Medicare and Medicaid for generic drugs, the Department of Justice said. The whistleblower lawsuit stated that Kmart failed to report discounted drug prices to federal and state health care programs.

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