It isn’t often that a medical malpractice attorney realizes a victory in a case the magnitude of the one settled on October 30, 2015. The 250 million dollars case that involves 457 hospitals spread out over 43 states, goes on record as one of the largest settlements to ever take place in this country and sends a message to hospitals that people will no longer stand by quietly and accept everything without question.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) accused the hospitals involved for using Medicare heart patients to commit fraud against the Medicare program. This took place over a period of seven years. Once a patient has a heart attack or bypass surgery, they are given a recovery period to see if their heart can handle normal functions on its own. If, after a period of forty days for a heart attack and ninety for a bypass, the patient’s heart still does not function properly, doctors implant a device called a implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Medicare pays almost $25,000 for each of these devices. Benjamin Mizer, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, stated that he believes this case will not only lead to hospitals following the waiting period more often, which will improve the health of heart patients, but will also save Medicare a great deal of money.
The False Claims Act (FCA) has brought many such lawsuits to the medical malpractice attorney. With this act, which is set up to help identify and end medical fraud, patients who believe they were charged for procedures they did not really need are rewarded when they become “whistleblowers” and help bring legal action against the offending hospitals or doctors. In this case, the seventy former patients were rewarded approximately thirty-eight million dollars in all. For the medical malpractice attorney, cases like this can end up being very lucrative. Since its inception in 2009, this act has recovered $26.2 billion dollars, over half of which involved fraud against federal health care programs.
The winning of this lawsuit sends an even stronger message to the individual. Big health care providers are no longer untouchable. For most of history, the health care system has appeared too large for the average citizen to feel comfortable taking action if they felt they were mistreated. Now, individuals are not only facing the opportunity to effectively fight for their rights not to be taken advantage of, they may actually be compensated for bringing the issue to the attention of authorities. The False Claim Act puts more power in the hands of the individual.
If you or a loved one believes you have been a victim of medical malpractice, you now have a way to stand up for your rights. The first step is to contact a medical malpractice attorney at GOM Law for a free consultation. A lawyer will sit with you and your loved ones and help you understand what your rights are and how to proceed with a lawsuit if it is deemed that malpractice did indeed take place. Not only is it possible for you to possibly gain compensation for a wrong that has been done to you, but you add your voice to the rest of the population in letting big health care know they are no longer above the law.