If you’ve been misdiagnosed, you know how hard it can be to get your diagnosis changed and to receive the real help and medical care you need. In this case out of Florida, Baptist Health network is now paying $2.5 million to settle allegations that it has violated the False Claims Act. How did that happen? According to the article from May 6, there are allegations that claim that between September 2009 and October 2011, two neurosurgeons allegedly misdiagnosed patients with neurological disorders, like multiple sclerosis. That allowed Baptist Health to bill for unnecessary services. During that time, the patients were being treated with medications and therapies that would not have been necessary and could have been dangerous to their health.
According to the news, one of those physicians was placed on administrative leave in October 2011, but the company did not disclose the misdiagnoses to the government until September 2012. This alleged fraud directly impacted patients and could have harmed them. The allegations state that the misconduct also directly impacted Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.
The state of Florida is receiving $19,024 of the settlement amount. A whistleblower, a former employee of Baptist Health, will receive $424,155 for alerting the government to the fraud. The lawsuit was filed under the False Claims Act, allowing the government to investigate and potentially file charges against the company.
You may be wondering what will happen to those patients who were impacted by the misdiagnoses. Until liability is determined, they may not be receiving any kickback. The news didn’t report injuries from the misdiagnoses, but if the patients were injured, they might be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging that the medical provider misdiagnosed them on purpose in order to make more money from their insurance providers.
Source: Modern Healthcare, “Baptist Health pays $2.5 million in case alleging MS misdiagnoses” Joe Carlson, May. 07, 2014