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ASC, physician-owned hospital whistleblowers got up to $3M this year: 5 cases

Whistleblowers stand to receive a portion of the proceeds from a settlement or financial recovery, which can be hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Here is a look at five healthcare-related cases from the past year:

1. A sonographer formerly employed at Bellamah Vein Center in Montana accused the practice owner of using "improper techniques" to conduct and analyze ultrasounds. David Bellamah, MD, agreed to pay $3.7 million to resolve the allegations and Ms. Lezanne received $636,875, or 17 percent of the settlement, in mid-December.

2. Myron Jones, MD, a physician formerly employed at Atlanta-based Milton Hall Surgical Associates, alleged the group's founder, owner, medical director and former CEO Jeffrey Gallups, MD, accepted kickbacks from Entellus, a device company, and medical testing lab NextHealth. Dr. Gallups and the practice paid $3 million to resolve the claims and Dr. Jones received $614,000 in early December.

3. Leslie Jennings, MD, a physician-owner of Flower Mound (Texas) Hospital, filed a lawsuit against the hospital, claiming it violated Stark Law by repurchasing shares from physicians and unfairly reselling them to younger physicians based on volume or value of their procedures. The hospital agreed to pay $18.2 million to resolve the claims and Dr. Jennings received $3 million in early December.

4. Scott Thompson, a former Deerfield, Ill.-based Surgical Care Affiliates employee, filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the company and its affiliate, Orlando Center for Outpatient Surgery, alleging billing fraud for lithotripsy. The allegations were settled June 28, and the parties paid $3.4 million, of which Mr. Thompson received $748,000. The estate of the urologist named in the suit entered into a separate settlement in January for $1.75 million, of which Mr. Thompson received $385,000.

5. Steven Pringle, a former sales operation employee of Mubashar Choudry, MD, and his three practices, filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging the cardiologist paid kickbacks to referring physicians for ankle-brachial index testing from 2013-16. In April, the case was settled for $750,000 and Mr. Pringle received $121,500.


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