Record Recovery in Medical Lawsuit
By William Cole Advertiser Courts Writer
HONOLULU – A $2.1 million Medicaid fraud settlement is expected to be announced today, representing a recovery in Hawaii involving an individual physician.
Law enforcement officials said the Oahu doctor who was not identified yesterday illegally allowed a clerk to dispense medication out of his office, and overbilled Medicaid and other coverage providers for hundreds of thousands of pills.
The investigation was a joint effort involving the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office and state attorney general’s office.
The settlement is expected to be announced this afternoon. Authorities say the illegal activity occurred over a number of years.
By law, only doctors can dispense medication from an office but a clerk was instructed to do so in this case, officials said. The investigation also showed the doctor billed extensively for expensive medication, but records indicated he purchased every little of those drugs, according to officials.
Authorities said Medicaid and the clerk, who came forward and cooperated with authorities, will share in the expected settlement as the result of a “qui-tam” lawsuit involving individuals who submit false claims to the government.
Under the Hawaii False Claims Act passed last year, whistleblowers are allowed to share in the recovery.