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Department of Justice announces $17 million whistleblower settlement with hospital

On July 28, 2016, the United States Department of Justice announced $17 million settlement with Lexington County Health Services District Inc. d/b/a Lexington Medical Center, concluding a federal whistleblower case brought by former hospital employee David H. Hammett, M.D.

The settlement resolves allegations that the hospital violated the Physician Self-Referral Law, also known as the “Stark Law,” by entering into improper financial arrangements with 28 physicians. In a statement, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and DOJ Civil Division head Benjamin C. Mizer said the settlement ensures medical services are ordered because they are “in the patient’s best interest, and not because the physician stands to gain financially from the referral.”

The case was brought under the federal False Claims Act, a law that that allows private citizens to sue on behalf of the government to recover money paid as a result of fraud or other wrongful conduct.

Under the terms of the settlement, Dr. Hammett will receive approximately $4.5 million of the recovered funds. Dr. Hammett was represented by Dick Harpootlian and Chris Kenney of Richard A. Harpootlian, P.A. and Wes Jackson, Jenkins Mann, and Shaun Blake of Rogers Lewis Jackson Mann & Quinn, LLC.

The Department of Justice’s full release is available here.

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