On its website, Bayada Home Health Care urges its employees to “do the right thing.” Three former employees believe they’ve done just that by filing a whistleblower lawsuit that accuses Bayada of fraudulent Medicare billing.
Though all three signed separation agreements that released the company “from any and all claims,” U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg said their lawsuit can proceed. When denying Bayada’s motion to dismiss the suit that, he noted that though the separation agreements cover the former employees’ False Claims Act claims, the releases could not be enforced.
Goldberg wrote that “emerging agreement” among courts is that enforcement of similar releases can only be done if not outweighed by public policy. In this case, the prevailing public policy encourages “laypeople to come forward with information to assist the government." Goldberg added that the government learned of the alleged fraud from the lawsuit.
"We look forward to the opportunity to prove the allegations and recover these much-needed Medicare funds for the United States and the taxpayers," an employment law attorney for the three former employees stated.
They allege that Bayada violated federal law when it billed Medicare for services for patients who weren’t homebound. Medicare covers home care services such as speech therapy, medication administration and nursing for homebound patients.
Two of the plaintiffs are nurses and the third was a client services manager for Bayada.
The judge’s ruling might well encourage others who have signed separation agreements to come forward and expose fraud. If you have witnessed fraud against the federal government in your workplace, contact the Milwaukee law offices of Alan C. Olson & Associates, s.c. to discuss your legal options and potential compensation.