Three Florida Pharmacies Agree To Pay More Than $830,000 In False Claims Act Case
On June 29th, 2022, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida confirmed that three Miami-Dade County pharmacies—Habana Hospital Pharmacy, Inc., Longevity Drugs, LLC, and Forest Hill Pharmacy, LLC—have agreed to pay more than $830,000 as a part of a False Claims Act case. Regulators determined that the pharmacies had an improper collaborative practice agreement through which a federal health program was overbilled. Here, our Florida whistleblower rights attorney highlights the key things to know about the False Claims Act settlement.
Allegations: Fraudulent Billing of Federal Health Program
According to the information provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the three pharmacies cited in the case used collaborative practice agreements. Broadly speaking, a collaborative practice agreement is a type of contract through which a pharmacist agrees to provide services to a patient with a chronic health condition. Collaborative practice agreements are lawful, but they must comply with certain standards under Florida law and other state laws.
Federal regulators contend that the collaborative practice agreements used by these pharmacies resulted in the unlawful writing of prescriptions. Indeed, the government contends that in some cases, these pharmacies prescribed medications without any physician involvement at all. As a consequence, federal health programs, including Medicare and Medicaid were fraudulently billed. In total, the three pharmacies will pay more than $830,000 to resolve the matter.
A Whistleblower Will Receive Nearly $170,000 in Financial Compensation
Health program fraud remains a very serious problem in the United States. In many cases, the federal government does not have the resources to detect fraud on its own. It relies on the contributions of whistleblowers who have inside information to come forward and report health billing fraud. The False Claims Act is a federal law that provides whistleblowers with protections if they report government program fraud. Under the False Claims Act a whistleblower can file a lawsuit for the government. If the claim is successful, the whistleblower may be compensated.
In the False Claims Act lawsuit involving Habana Hospital Pharmacy, Inc., Longevity Drugs, LLC, and Forest Hill Pharmacy, LLC the case was initiated by an individual whistleblower. They filed a qui tam claim alleging health program billing fraud. Later, the federal government decided to take over the case—as is its right under the law. As money was successfully recovered on behalf of the taxpayers, the whistleblower who initiated the case is entitled to a financial award. They will receive nearly $170,000 in compensation—approximately 20 percent of the total financial recovery.
Call Our Florida False Claims Act Attorney Today
At Guttman, Freidin & Celler, we are devoted to protecting the rights and interests of our clients. If you are considering making a disclosure under the federal False Claims Act or the Florida False Claims Act, we can help you navigate the process. Call us today for a free, confidential case review. We provide statewide and nationwide representation in whistleblower rights cases.