Ela Medical Settles Qui Tam Lawsuit Over Doctor Kickbacks For $9.2M
Ela Medical, a pacemaker manufacturer, settled a qui tam / whistle-blower lawsuit for $9.2 million over allegations of doctor and hospital kickbacks and Medicare fraud. The former company technician will likely receive approximately $2.3 million for exposing the company's alleged fraudulent activities.
Pacemaker Manufacturer Accused Of Doctor & Hospital Kickbacks
Tania Lee worked as a technician for Ela Medical Company in Miami, Florida when she discovered that the company was paying doctors and hospitals kickbacks and engaging in other fraudulent activity such as billing Medicare for medical procedures that were never performed. Although she approached Ela about these issues, her concerns were ignored. She got a job at another medical company, but was fired after that company found out that she filed a qui tam lawsuit against Ela.
Although she was blackballed out of the medical device industry, Lee won big after Ela Medical settled the whistle-blower lawsuit for $9.2 million. Although Lee's share of the settlement is not yet known, many whistle-blowers – also known as relators – receive about 25 percent of the recovery. So, in this case – Lee may walk away with $2.3 million.
Number Of Qui Tam Lawsuits Increasing; Relators Seen As Heroes
The number of False Claims Act qui tam lawsuits is definitely increasing, according to whistle-blower lawyers – especially in the healthcare industry – and new health care reform laws make it easier to file claims. Earlier this year, a similar qui tam lawsuit filed against Ela by another former employee resulted in an $820,000 settlement and St. Jude Medical recently settled allegations of kickbacks for $3.7 million. Many of these lawsuits involve Medicare and Medicaid fraud and relators who report the abuse are often viewed as heroes for having the courage to expose the activity.