Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinics P.C. in Knoxville, Tennessee and Appalachian Orthopaedic Clinics in Kingsport, Tennessee will pay the federal government $1.85 million dollars to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit. The suit was filed by a physician’s assistant who became aware of the alleged fraud and filed a qui tam lawsuit pursuant to the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act.
So what was the illegal and fraudulent conduct alleged in the lawsuit? The clinics were importing medicine from Mexico to use in injections to treat osteoarthritis-related knee pain. The medicine was not approved for use in the United States. And, because it was imported, there was not any oversight into its manufacture, quality and storage. The clinics would purchase the imported medicine at deeply discounted rates and then bill the federal government for the full-price of the drug as if they had purchased it from the U.S manufacturer. This type of conduct allows the medical provider to increase their profits but it, of course, puts their patient’s health at risk and is a swindle of the federal government and all taxpayers.
Because the physician’s assistant blew the whistle on the alleged scheme, he will receive a portion of the settlement. The False Claims Act provides this financial incentive to encourage people to come forward and report fraud against the government. If you would like to talk to one of our award-winning lawyers about a possible qui tam case, please contact us online or call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787.