A False Claims Act whistleblower suit filed against electronic health records company Epic is unsealed late last week and it alleges that its financial system enables a form of double billing that could have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of extra charges paid by the government. The two-year-old suit is being brought by a former WakeMed Health employee, contending that the Verona, Wis.-based company didn’t adjust its billing software after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services changed the way that it required hospitals to bill for anesthesia services. The suit charges that, as a result, hospitals using Epic software have improperly billed the federal health insurance programs for those services.
David J. Linesch, the lawyer for the whistleblower, says he will litigate the case against Epic. The suit contends that Epic is liable to the U.S. “under the treble damages and civil penalty provision for a civil penalty of not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000 for each of the false or fraudulent claims herein, plus three times the amount of the damages which the government has sustained because of Defendant’s actions.”In late May, the False Claims Act was successfully used against eClinicalWorks, another vendor of an EHR system, which entered into a settlement to pay the federal government $155 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit contending that its products were faulty. The settlement was the first of its kind for a healthcare information technology company.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers but not the whistleblower in this case.