One of Chicago’s larger hospitals is paying $1.5 Million to settle a Department of Justice allegation that it violated the False Claims Act. Cheryl Jackson of the Chicago Sun Times writes that Rush University Medical Center in Chicago will pay the $1.5 Million as a result of $547,000 in Medicare benefits the hospital received from its false claims. This settlement looks like treble damages were in play.
The Chicago Sun Times also published a blog post on March 1, 2010 entitled, False Claims Act settlements are in vogue. The DOJ is taking full advantage of its suing power under the False Claims Act, recouping more than $2.2 Billion in healthcare recoveries since January 2009 according to the Sun Times blog.
While this doesn’t necessarily change Medicare and Medicaid’s lien resolution processes, it does show that the government is ready, willing, and certainly able to utilize the MMSEA to its advantage come October 1, 2010. Plaintiffs’ attorneys need to be prepared for the changes. If you fail to report a new personal injury lawsuit to Medicare’s Coordination of Benefits Contractor (COBC), you, the attorney, could be held liable for any lien plus interest on that lien.
Do not wait for the MMSEA to surprirse you, get started now.