Chronic Kidney Disease patients who experience Kidney Failure rely on their Dialysis Center to provide them with lifesaving treatments as well as overall assistance and care. When such care is not provided it is concerning and even demoralizing. A Large Dialysis Organization reached a settlement with the Department of Justice over a major allegation which involved thousands of Dialysis patients.
According to Nephrology News, DaVita Inc. - a FORTUNE 500® company and second largest Dialysis Organization in the United States - agreed to pay $63.7 million in a settlement with the Federal Department of Justice, the Office of Inspector General of Health & Human Services and the U.S. Attorney General of Texas over allegations that it billed Federal Healthcare programs for kidney drugs that were never used and for offering financial inducements (bribes) to patients to accept manufacturer’s Co-pay Cards and claim they were unable to help pay for the drugs themselves.
As all Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients know, the process of ordering and/or refilling medication can be both confusing and in some cases challenging. Hence, errors or misleading billing statements and incorrect shipping information of medication makes the process more frustrating and even potentially dangerous for patients who are just trying to get the medicines they need to hopefully feel better.
U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas said, “Providers should not make patient care decisions based upon improper financial incentives or encourage their patients to do the same." The DaVita settlement included paying former DaVita Rx LLC employees-turned-whistleblowers Patsy Gallian and Monique Jones approximately $2.1 million. In the settlement, the Department of Justice acknowledged that DaVita Rx initially found a disparity in its own Medicare receipts for drugs prescribed but not delivered to patients and later voluntarily refunded $22.2 million to the Healthcare programs.
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No patients were mentioned in the lawsuit and it appears that DaVita has acknowledged allegations that DaVita Rx billed Medicare, Medicaid and the Department of Defense’s Tricare program for prescription medications that were never shipped; that were shipped but subsequently returned; and that did not show proof of delivery, refill requests or patient consent, according to the Department of Justice.
In a prepared statement, DaVita said, “We take full ownership and continue to embrace transparency and rigorous compliance. DaVita is proud that its team discovered and self-disclosed these issues to the Federal Government in 2015 and 2016 and cooperated with the government in resolving them.”
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