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New York whistleblowers settle Medicare fraud lawsuit

For seven years, the two women worked together in billing and accounts receivable at Lincare, a provider of in-home oxygen equipment. The two alleged that the New York company was overbilling Medicare.

The women became whistleblowers, accusing the Amherst firm of bilking Medicare out of millions of dollars, as well as paying kickbacks to doctors and fabricating documents to support its claims submitted to the federal health care program. Their lawsuit against the company was recently settled for $20 million.

According to a recent news report, the two women — along with two other former employees — stand to profit handsomely for blowing the whistle. The four former Lincare workers will split about $11 million of the settlement, the Buffalo News reports.

The two other workers were apparently employed by Lincare at a Massachusetts location. The company has offices scattered across the United States, including several locations in the greater New York City metro area.

The four filed lawsuits against the company in 2009 and 2010, alleging “that Lincare used abusive and fraudulent practices in overbilling the Medicare program,” the newspaper article states.

They said that the company began its fraudulent practices in response to lowered Medicare spending.

Among the practices the firm allegedly engaged in: continuing to bill Medicare for oxygen equipment that had been returned to the company. Lincare insists that the settlement covers simple billing errors.

Those facing investigation involving similar accusations can speak with a New York attorney experienced in Medicare overpayment appeals and related matters.