The whistleblower case that resulted in more than 500 hospitals in 43 states settling charges alleging they performed medically unnecessary cardiac procedures was the focus of a conference panel discussion this week led by Phillips & Cohen whistleblower attorneys Jeffrey Dickstein and Amy Easton.
Speaking at Healthcon, a yearly health care conference hosted by the medical coders association AAPC, the two attorneys presented “Anatomy of a False Claims Act Case.” They were joined by defense attorney George Breen, who sat on the other side of the table in their case. Breen is a member of Epstein Becker & Green.
Dickstein and Easton recently joined Phillips & Cohen after years serving as highly respected Department of Justice attorneys with particularly strong experience working on health care whistleblower cases. They led the prosecution of the hospitals for the government.
Doctors at the hospitals allegedly implanted cardiac devices before the end of Medicare’s required waiting periods following a heart attack, angioplasty or heart bypass surgery. The waiting periods are required to give the heart a chance to recover on its own and before doctors determine whether the cardiac devices are needed.
The hospitals paid a total of over $250 million to settle the charges. The two whistleblowers who originally filed the case received rewards totaling more than $41 million, as provided under the “qui tam” (whistleblower) provisions of the False Claims Act.