As a result of a lawsuit brought under the Federal False Claims Act by three whistleblowers, one of the New York area’s largest healthcare providers – Northwell Health, Inc. whose subsidiary includes Lenox Hill Hospital — has agreed to pay $12.3 million to resolve claims that it engaged in false or fraudulent billing to the Federal Medicare system.
Northwell operates 23 hospitals and 700 outpatient centers.
The settlement covers three alleged schemes involving Urologist David B. Samadi: that (1) Northwell over-compensated Samadi in order to secure hospital referrals in alleged violation of the Physician Self-Referral Law (the “Stark Act”), (2) Northwell billed Medicare for surgeries where Samadi violated billing procedures governing overlapping surgeries, and (3) Northwell billed for procedures that were not medically necessary to perform in an operating room.
The Physician Self-Referral Law, 42 U.S.C. §1395nn, prohibits physicians from referring patients to receive “designated health services” payable by Medicare or Medicaid from entities with which the physician or an immediate family member has a financial relationship, unless an exception applies.
According to a settlement agreement executed in United States of America ex rel. George Markelson, et. al. v. David B. Samadi, M.D. and Northwell Health, Inc. et al., “Defendants’ practices resulted in the submission of several million dollars of inappropriate claims to Medicare.”
The settlement also states that, “when portions of an endoscopic surgery in OR 21 overlapped with a surgery in OR 25, Samadi was not present in OR 21 throughout the entire period of time the scope was inserted to the time the scope was removed.” The settlement agreement also states that, “Samadi would freeze or pause the robotic equipment in OR 25 and leave the patient under the care of the anesthesiologist, operating room staff, and, in some instances, a urology resident.”
Relators were represented by the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm, LLP, and by Guttman, Buschner & Brooks, PLLC. The Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm, LLP, is a prominent medical malpractice firm and Guttman, Buchner & Brooks, PLLC, is a nationally recognized firm engaging in complex litigation and representing whistleblowers under the Federal False Claims Act and state false claims statutes.
“We exposed medical malpractice designed to inflate surgical volume, revenue, profit, and compensation and conduct that tramples on patient rights, abuses confidence in healthcare, corrupts graduate medical education, and violates the law,” said Joseph Lanni of the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm, LLP.
“While this case was filed and resolved as a matter of false or fraudulent billing to the Medicare system, in reality it was about the egregious monetization of human maladies which is all too common in healthcare delivery today,” said Reuben Guttman of Guttman, Buschner & Brooks, PLLC.
The attorneys who worked on the case from the Fuchsberg firm include Joseph Lanni, Edward Hynes, Jaehyun Oh, Alan Fuchsberg, and Bradley Zimmerman. It was Joseph Lanni who originally investigated this matter and directed the Fuchsberg firm’s efforts in developing, filing and litigating the case.
The Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm, LLP, is a prominent New York law firm representing plaintiffs in complex medical malpractice, product liability, toxic exposure, major vehicle and other personal injury cases. The firm’s attorneys, including those involved in this case, have regularly secured trial verdicts or settlements in the millions of dollars. Mr. Lanni, Mr. Fuchsberg, Mr. Zimmerman and Ms. Oh recently investigated and filed multiple lawsuits on behalf of workers at a national laboratory exposed to toxic chemicals and carcinogenic substances, including the solvents TCE, PCE and other volatile organic compounds, that received considerable attention with lengthy articles in the New York Times, Newsday, as well as on various televised news segments. The same attorneys at the firm are in the process of investigating and filing medical malpractice lawsuits involving septic shock related deaths, limb amputations, and disfigurements due to major medical errors at hospitals that appear related to negligent surgical stapler use by surgeons and inattentive postoperative care performed by improperly supervised junior residents and physician assistants. More information on the firm can be found at https://www.fuchsberg.com/
Guttman, Buschner & Brooks PLLC is a boutique firm whose attorneys have worked on cases recovering nearly $6 billion dollars for state and federal governments including $280 million recovery in a non-intervened case against Celgene Corporation on the brink of trial (U.S. ex rel. Brown v. Celgene); a settlement against Humana Inc. achieved on the brink of trial (U.S. Graves ex rel. Humana). Attorneys at the firm represented the lead whistleblower in U.S. ex rel. McCoyd v. Abbott Labs, which involved the recovery of $1.6 billion for the government; one of several whistleblowers bringing FCA cases against GlaxoSmithKline in 2012, which resulted in the recovery of $1.04 billion (U.S. ex rel. Graydon v. GSK); one of the whistleblowers bringing FCA cases against Pfizer which resulted in the recovery of $2.3 billion (U.S. ex rel. DeMott v. Pfizer); the lead whistleblowers in U.S. ex rel. Sandler and Paris v. Pfizer, which resulted in recovery of $257.4 million; the lead whistleblower in U.S. ex rel. Szymoniak v. Bank of America, which resulted in the recovery of $95 million; three of the whistleblowers FCA cases against a large hospital chain (U.S. ex rel. Doghramji v. CHS), which resulted in the recovery of $98 million; the lead whistleblower in U.S. ex rel. Kurnik v. Amgen, which resulted in the aggregate recovery of $30 million from Amgen, Inc., Omnicare, and PharMerica Corp.; and the whistleblower in U.S. ex rel. Abrahamsen v. Hudson Valley, which resulted in a recovery of $5.5 million to the federal government and state government. More information on GBB can be found at www.gbblegal.com. The firm also maintains the following informational site for whistleblowers, the media, and academics: www.whistleblowerlaws.com
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