DaVita HealthCare Partners will pay $495 million settling a whistleblower action against the kidney care company in which a physician and nurse who brought the case observed DaVita was throwing out medicine so that it could bill Medicare more money.
Dr. Alon Vainer and nurse Daniel Barbir who both worked for the company saw that by instruction they would waste the drugs Zemplar, vitamin D and Venofer an iron supplement. If a patient needed 25 milligrams of Venofer, for example the physician would use that much and toss the rest of the 100 mg vial. Medicare would be billed for the 100 mg vial. In other instances, if a patient needed 8 mgs of Zemplar, DaVita doctors were instructed to use a 10 mg vial instead of four 2 mg vials.
DaVita has settled two other whistleblower suits. In 2012, it paid $55 million to Uncle Sam for over-using and double billing the government for Epogen, an anemia drug. That suit was filed by Ivey Woodard a former employee of Amgen, the Epogen manufacturer.
In October last year, the company paid $389 million to settle a whistleblower case asserting that the company offered kickbacks to kidney doctors for patient referrals.
The whistleblowers in this case, Dr. Vainer and Nurse Barbir were represented by L.Lin Woods and Marlan Wilbanks. The government did not intervene in their case and they litigated it on their own.