After closing out a record year for False Claims Act recoveries, the government announced today that New Jersey based Cooper Health System and Cooper University Hospital has agreed to pay $12.6 million to resolve allegations that it paid illegal kickbacks to health care providers. This settlement is one of the largest recoveries for New Jersey under its state False Claims Act. It is also one of the largest settlements against a hospital for its involvement in an illegal kickback scheme.
The case was originally filed in 2008 by Dr. Nicholas L. DePace who was a prominent Delaware Valley cardiologist. According to the whistleblower, millions of dollars were being paid to physicians in order that they would refer patients to the Cooper Health System and Cooper University Hospital for expensive in-patient and cardiac services. It is Dr. DePace’s allegations that started the investigation by the United States Department of Justice and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office that led to this recovery.
Nolan Auerbach believes that violations of the Anti-kickback Statute by illegally paying healthcare providers continues to date and remains a basis for False Claims Act liability as this case illustrates. Taxpayers depend on courageous whistleblowers such as Dr. DePace who have the constitutional fortitude to step up to stop these illegal practices.
More information for whistleblowers is located at the Nolan Auerbach website.