For more than three years, a 58-year-old doctor in Bloomington, Minnesota, prescribed a topical pain relief cream to the majority of her patients. This special cream was sold exclusively at a certain Best Aid pharmacy. Now, the U.S. Attorney's Office is charging the doctor with health care fraud, among other offenses.
CBS Minnesota reports that the manager and the pharmacist at the Best Aid store are also facing charges of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. They allegedly paid the doctor tens of thousands of dollars to prescribe the pain relief cream to her patients -- even when those patients didn't need it. Then they gave the patients a knock-off version of the product and billed Medicare and Medicaid for the pricier version.
You Can Do More Than Stand By And Watch Such Wrongdoing
This story serves to illustrate the fact that health care fraud is on the rise. However, the good news is that anyone -- from a nurse or case manager to a pharmacist or surgeon -- can "blow the whistle" on such illegal activity. In return for helping the federal government stop Medicare and Medicaid fraud, the whistleblower will typically receive a financial reward.
Whistleblower cases (officially called qui tam claims) benefit both the government and the person who brings the claim. In addition, the whistleblower is protected by law from discrimination or retaliation on the part of his or her employer.
Engaging The Assistance Of A Lawyer Is The Best Place To Start
Of course, if an employer has already broken the law by participating in fraud, that employer may not think twice before illegally firing, demoting or otherwise retaliating against an employee who reports the wrongdoing. For this reason, among many others, it is wise to consult with an attorney skilled in False Claims Act cases prior to filing a claim.