A company on the East Coast that provides audiology services has agreed to settle a whistleblower lawsuit involving claims of unlawful enticements and inappropriate examinations, according to the Department of Justice. Authorities say that the health care company allowed unlicensed individuals to conduct unsupervised audiology tests on patients who were covered by Medicare or Tricare.
The business admitted billing the government programs for reimbursement in violation of the False Claims Act, according to court documents. Additionally, federal officials say that the audiology services provider used unlawful enticements to attract government health care beneficiaries. Included in the promotions were offers of gift cards, turkeys, as well as a contest where beneficiaries of Medicare or Tricare could enter to win an iPad.
Federal officials say that the scheme to entice beneficiaries to receive audiology services resulted in increased profits to the audiology business for services that were improper and failed to qualify for Medicare or Tricare coverage. The company resolved the whistleblower claim though a settlement agreement for more than $566,000. A former employee of the audiology business initiated the federal claim on behalf of the government and taxpayers in 2016. The anonymous whistleblower is expected to receive $120,000 from the settlement.
Whistleblowers Receive A ‘Finder’s Fee’ For Successful FCA Claims
Whistleblowers who bring forth claims on behalf of the government under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act are entitled to receive a percentage of the proceeds that result from a settlement or verdict in the case. The FCA is intended to help the government root out acts of fraud in government contracts. Whistleblowers receive part of the proceeds as a form of finder’s fee for helping the government recover taxpayer money that has been obtained through fraud.