A former member of staff from Mosaic Life Care Medical Center in St. Joseph, MO has filed legal action over wrongful dismissal and retaliation for her taking measures to avoid a breach of the False Claims Act.
Debra Conrad, aged 57, claims she was wrongfully sacked for raising concerns about unlawful, unethical, and fraudulent billing practices. According to the lawsuit, in April 2017, Conrad was told by hospital officials to release charges for billing even though the documentation did not bacl up the claims. Multiple charges had to be pushed through, which would induce payment by Medicare and other third parties, even though Conrad could not certify that the claims were correct.
Conrad raised her worries about potential breaches of the False Claims Act and told her supervisor of the possibility of massive fines. Under instruction, Conrad processed the claims but also included comments stating that the claims were not backed up by the documentation and the claims had been authorized to be released even though she thought them to be fraudulent claims.
Conrad was called to a disciplinary hearing, including suspension, which was due to her opposition to fraudulent billing. She complained about the disciplinary actions and was later accused of breaching HIPAA Rules. She also filed a complaint about that allegation and was fired shortly after this time.
According to the lawsuit filed, “Merely because plaintiff could see patient information while performing duties in the coding program (that she needed to access to perform her job), she was subject to discipline and suspension.” Conrad is seeking $75,000 in compensatory damages, lost wages, lost benefits, attorneys’ fees, and reinstatement.
Ms Conrad worked as a medical coder with Mosaic for 40 years before her termination, according to the complaint submitted. She is now seeking over $75,000 in compensatory damages, damages authorized by the False Claims Act, lost wages and benefits, attorneys’ fees and reinstatement.