GREENVILLE, S.C.—So far, the number of False Claims Act settlements involving personal liability for physicians and other healthcare providers has jumped in 2017. This increase (to 26 settlements so far this year) follows the 2015 Yates memo, which directed federal prosecutors to focus on individuals responsible for corporate fraud.

Womble Bond Dickinson’s Sandy Miller discussed the trend with Bloomberg BNA.

She said physicians can run afoul of the False Claims Act when they are “looking for alternate sources of revenue to make up for declining reimbursements.” She said physicians should review third-party arrangement offers from clinical labs and medical equipment companies “with a jaundiced eye.”

Miller also agreed that the Yates Memo has led to an increase in physician False Claims Act settlements. She said the number of physician settlements could continue to increase if defendants continue to point the finger at doctors, and if the Department of Justice continues to accept relatively small settlement amounts.

In 2013, Miller and the U.S. Department of Justice won the largest fraud verdict against a community hospital in U.S. history in Drakeford v. Tuomey Healthcare. A jury awarded $237 million in the False Claims Act case, and a federal appeals court upheld that verdict in 2015.  The case was ultimately resolved for $72.8 million in late 2015, ending 11 years of litigation.

Click here to read, “Physician Fraud Settlements See Huge Increase in 2017” in Bloomberg BNA (subscription required).

Sandy Miller has experience representing health care providers in a variety of health law related issues, focusing her practice on federal and state fraud and abuse litigation and qui tam defense.  She has represented clients in federal court litigation and federal administrative proceedings in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, and Ohio.