WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 16, 2016 - Two Phillips & Cohen whistleblower attorneys received the first ever "Public-Private Partnership Award" Thursday night from Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund (TAFEF) for their exceptional work on a complex Medicare fraud whistleblower case while at the Department of Justice.
Jeffrey Dickstein, a Phillips & Cohen attorney in Miami, and Amy Easton, a Phillips & Cohen attorney in Washington, DC, were the lead government attorneys in the whistleblower case that resulted in more than 500 hospitals settling Medicare fraud allegations for a total of $280 million.
The "qui tam" lawsuit, joined by the government, alleged the hospitals had implanted cardiac devices known as implantable cardioverter defibrillators too soon after heart attacks or heart surgery in violation of established Medicare protocols and billed Medicare for the procedures.
"The strategies of these two attorneys were brilliant in judgment and execution," said Bryan Vroon, the attorney and TAF member who worked with them on the case and nominated them for the award. He said "their extraordinary talents and energy" were the key reasons for the case's successful outcome.
"It was never about the numbers for these attorneys," Vroon said. "Their focus was the patients."
He noted that Dickstein and Easton faced 44 "aggressive defense firms" that were representing the various hospitals to work out over 80 settlement agreements.
Dickstein is a former Assistant US Attorney for DOJ in Miami who has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare litigation. Easton was a Senior Trial Attorney at DOJ's headquarters in Washington who had a strong record as a prosecutor in significant healthcare fraud cases.
Congress created the False Claims Act to encourage a partnership between the government and private citizens to stop fraud against the government. Dickstein and Easton's "groundbreaking" investigation and work on the cardiac device case with the two whistleblowers who exposed the Medicare fraud and Vroon exemplified that partnership.
TAFEF is a nonprofit organization that works to advance the effectiveness of government whistleblower reward programs, including the federal and state False Claims Acts and the federal tax, securities, and commodity futures trading laws.
About Phillips & Cohen LLP
Phillips & Cohen is the most successful law firm representing whistleblowers under government reward programs, with more than $12.1 billion recovered as a result of its whistleblower cases. The law firm represents US and international whistleblowers in cases under the False Claims Act and similar state whistleblower laws as well as whistleblower claims filed with the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Internal Revenue Service. For more information, see www.phillipsandcohen.com.