Denver Health & Hospital Authority to Pay $6.2 Million
Philadelphia, PA, January 5, 2012 – Egan Young, Attorneys-at-Law, is pleased to announce that Denver Health and Hospital Authority (“DHHA”) has agreed to pay $6.3 million to settle allegations that the DHHA submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid by improperly submitting claims for short hospital stays as though they were “inpatient” stays when they should have been billed as less expensive “outpatient” or “observation” stays. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado and is captioned U.S. ex rel. Joanne Curren v. Denver Health & Hospital Authority, 09-CV-01752.
The qui tam suit was filed in 2009 pursuant to the False Claims Act, by Joanne Curren, a former DHHA employee. The False Claims Act is a law that enables private citizens (“whistleblowers”) with original information of fraud against the United States to file lawsuits on the government’s behalf. As an incentive for coming forward, whistleblowers are rewarded with a percentage of the government’s recovery.
Ms. Curren alleged that, as a result of the improper inpatient classifications, DHHA submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid in violation of the False Claims Act. Ms. Curren also asserted that she was retaliated against for having voiced her concerns about improper billings to her superiors. In fact, shortly after having internally reported her concerns, Ms. Curren’s employment was terminated.
The prosecution of the case was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado under the direction of Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcy E. Cook and the Attorney General’s Office for the State of Colorado under the direction of First Assistant Attorney General Timothy X. Sokas. In consideration of having brought the allegations to the government’s attention as she did, the settlement provides that Ms. Curren shall receive a reward under the False Claims Act totaling over $800,000.00.
Relator Curren was represented by Eric L. Young, Esquire, of Egan Young, Attorneys-at-Law, a law firm dedicated to representing whistleblowers. Mr. Young stated, “My hat goes off to AUSA Marcy Cook who did an outstanding job of investigating the detailed allegations against DHHA and in maximizing the financial recovery for the benefit of the government and taxpayers”. Mr. Young was assisted on this case by Brandon J. Lauria, Esquire.
Young Law Group is a nationwide leader in whistleblower representation and has successfully represented numerous clients in some of the nation’s largest qui tam cases for over a decade. For a free confidential consultation, please call Eric L. Young, Esquire at (800) 590-4116 or complete our online form.