Whistleblowers in DaVita Case May Receive over $110 MillionJun 30, 2015
Two whistleblowers may receive more than $110 million for their efforts in uncovering fraud by their employer, DaVita Healthcare Partners. DaVita is the largest provider of dialysis services in the country; an Atlanta doctor and nurse alleged that the company engaged in a scheme to defraud the federal government.
Allegedly, DaVita schemed to maximize federal reimbursements by wasting dialysis drugs. Until 2011, the federal government reimburse for wasted dialysis medicine so long as the provider discarded the excess drugs in good faith. The whistleblowers said that DaVita took advantage of this by instructing staff to use excessively large vials of Zemplar, a vitamin D supplement, and Vanofer, an iron drug. Allegedly, the intentional waste cost taxpayers hundreds of millions.
DaVita agreed to pay $450 million to resolve the allegations, according to a Department of Justice announcement issued last week. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division, said "This settlement is an example of what can be accomplished as a result of the successful cooperation between the government and whistleblowers in protecting our vital federal health care programs," according to the release.
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia stated that "Through personal sacrifice and courage, two whistleblowers exposed knowingly wasteful dosing practices designed simply to increase profits and improperly drain the government's resources,"