A Wichita, Kansas Cardiologist has agreed to settle alleged False Claims Act (“FCA”) violations for $5.8 million. Dr. Galichia was alleged to have knowingly submitted false billings for surgical procedures in violation of the FCA. From January 2008 through December 2014, Dr. Galichia allegedly performed medically unnecessary heart procedures where he implanted coronary stents into patients. After the procedure, Dr. Galichia would allegedly submit false billings to Medicare, the Defense Health Agency, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The Department of Justice uncovered this alleged fraudulent scheme from a qui tam, or whistleblower, lawsuit by a former employee of Dr. Galichia, Dr. Aly Gadalla. Additional information on this case can be found here.
Under the FCA, lawsuits can be brought by private individuals, which allows the individual to sue on behalf of the government for the false claims and to share in any recovery. The FCA also gives the government the option to intervene and take over the action, if it deems necessary. The FCA provides that any person who knowingly submits false claims to the government or causes another to submit a false claim to the government is liable for damages, including paying a fine for each false claim submitted.
The current settlement reached by the DOJ and Dr. Galichia and his medical group GMED resulted in $1.6 million going to the whistleblower, Dr. Aly Gadalla. The settlement also stated that Dr. Galichia would refrain from participating in any federal healthcare program for three years. The DOJ emphasized that patient safety is always a critical issue and performing unnecessary heart procedures puts patients at risk and also defrauds federal healthcare programs.
The DOJ is continuously committed to ensuring the safety of federal health care program beneficiaries and making sure taxpayer money is being spent properly. If you know of fraud being committed against the government, it is important to talk to an experienced FCA attorney who will guide you in the right direction on whether you have a viable whistleblower complaint. Josh Borsellino is an experienced FCA attorney that will work with you in understanding your FCA case. He offers free consultations and can be reached at 817.908.9861 or 432.242.7118.