Reliant Rehabilitation Holdings to Pay $6.1M Settlement in Qui Tam Lawsuit
Reliant Rehabilitation Holdings Inc. has recently agreed to pay $6.1million to settle a qui tam lawsuit that alleged the healthcare company had an illegal kickback arranged with certain nursing homes.
According to the qui tam lawsuit, the company paid significant kickbacks to nursing homes in exchange for referring their residents to the company’s rehabilitation therapy services. Reliant is a nationwide rehabilitation therapy provider based in Plano Texas. The company agrees to pay the multi-million dollar settlement to resolve numerous False Claims Acts (FCA) violations alleged in the qui tam lawsuit.
According to the qui tam lawsuit, Reliant paid kickbacks to certain nursing homes and physicians that treat Medicare participants in exchange for them referring and promoting their rehabilitation therapy business.
The False Claim Act is a federal law that allows individuals to report fraud to the federal government and participate in any legal action that may come of it. Approximately 31 different states have their own violations of the FCA. which further empowers their citizens to take action.
The whistleblower provisions of the FCA allowed a concerned physician to report the alleged kickback scheme he witnessed, resulting in this qui tam lawsuit and eventual settlement.
Overview of the Qui Tam Lawsuit
According to the whistleblower lawsuit, Reliant and certain physicians working at skilled nursing homes and allegedly offered other physicians working at skilled nursing homes had allegedly offered other physicians financial compensation, in exchange for supervising and collaborating with the company’s nurse practitioners for the company’s rehabilitation business.
According to the qui tam lawsuit, this alleged kickback scheme started on April 1, 2013, when Reliant began sending out Reliant nurse practitioners to client nursing homes with below fair market fees in order to entice nursing homes to refer their residents to Reliant rehabilitation services. The illegal kickback system allegedly grew from there and lasted until May 1, 2017, and was discovered by Dr. Thomas P. For his role as the whistleblower, Thomas will reportedly receive $915,000 of the settlement fund.
Whistleblowers have an important role to play in discovering schemes to defraud the federal government. Under the FCA, whistleblowers can typically be rewarded with 15 to 30 percent of any settlement or verdict recovered from a qui tam lawsuit.
A whistleblower is an individual who witnessed fraud against the federal government and reports it. Whistleblowers help protect the hard earned money of taxpayers to ensure it is not improperly used. It is important to note that whistleblowers must be the primary source of information related to the fraud, and cannot use second-hand knowledge in a report.
It is important to note that healthcare fraud in one of the most common forms of fraud against the federal government, with medical care companies allegedly filing false claims to federal and state healthcare assistance programs.
“Paying illegal remuneration to nursing homes and doctors to increase the bottom line – as contended by the government in this case – is unacceptable as it too often sacrifices the best interests of patients to profit-making schemes. Patients and taxpayers deserve better,” said Special Agent CJ Porter of the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, commenting on the qui tam lawsuit in a press release.
The qui tam settlement will not only resolve the illegal kickback arrangement allegations but also allegations of submission of false claims to Medicare. These false claims were allegedly impacted by the illegal kickback arrangement and asked for compensation that was above fair market compensation.
This qui tam lawsuit is Case No. 3:16-CV-0707-D, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
In general, whistleblowers and qui tam lawsuits are filed individually by each plaintiff and are not class actions. Whistleblowers can only join this investigation if they are reporting fraud against the government, meaning that the government must be the victim and that the alleged fraud should be a substantial loss of money.
Contact the Qui Tam Team at Jones Brown Law
Do You have a Qui Tam claim? Contact Jones Brown Law and their professional and knowledgeable staff of Qui Tam attorneys to see if you qualify for a class action lawsuit. Keep in mind that there are statutes of limitations. At the law offices of Jones Brown, we pride ourselves on principles of honesty, hard work, fair dealing and compassion in our representation. Our attorneys and staff are committed to adhering to a strict code of professional ethics. We dedicate ourselves to our clients’ best interests and making the legal process as painless and simple as possible for the injured and their family. Our mission is to make accessible legal help and services for everyone by answering questions at no cost and with no obligation. We aim to make the world of law understandable to all.