DaVita settles whistle-blower lawsuit for $450M

Denver-based DaVita Healthcare Partners has agreed to pay $450 million to resolve claims it violated the False Claims Act by wasting medication and then billing Medicare and Medicaid for it, according to the Department of Justice.

The settlement resolves allegations originally brought under the qui tam, or whistle-blower, provision of the False Claims Act by two physicians who previously worked for DaVita. The physicians claimed DaVita "devised and employed dosing grids and/or protocols specifically designed to create unnecessary waste of the drugs Venofer and Zemplar," according to the DOJ. The two drugs are packaged in single-use vials. However, sometimes the amount of the drug in the vial does not match the dosage specified by the physicians and the remainder of the drug is discarded, the whistle-blowers claimed.

Regarding Zemplar, the physicians claimed DaVita had mandatory dosing grids that were designed to maximize the amount of the drug administered to patients and then billed the government for the amount used and the "wasted" amount. Regarding Venofer, DaVita allegedly enacted protocols that required the drug to be administered in small amounts and at frequent intervals. The whistle-blowers alleged this process was also enacted to maximize wastage.

Although DaVita agreed to this settlement, there has been no determination of liability in this case.

More articles on healthcare industry lawsuits:

Former hospital CEO faces criminal charges in Chicago
Nursing home to pay $17M to settle kickback allegations brought by former CFO
Former hospital CFO receives 23-month sentence for lying about meaningful use

 

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