Doctor Gets $4.6M for Blowing Whistle on Over-Compensated Doctors

Neurologist Dr. David Hammett will receive $4,590,000 as part of a settlement entered into by Lexington Medical Center (LMC) of West Columbia, S.C., and the federal government.  Ironically, the hefty compensation comes as a result of Dr. Hammett’s blowing the whistle on LMC for over-compensating some of its other physicians in violation of the federal Stark Law.

In September 2014 Dr. Hammett filed a qui tam action alleging that LMC’s asset purchase agreements and employment agreements with some if its physicians violated the Stark Law.  A Stark violation would mean that LMC’s bills to federal programs like Medicare violated the False Claims Act.

On July 28 the government announced that it had entered into a Settlement Agreement with LMC resolving the case.  The agreement calls for LMC to pay the government $17 million and for Dr. Hammett to receive $4,590,000 of that payment.  The agreement states that LMC denies the allegations and any wrongdoing and that the parties entered into the settlement to avoid further litigation.

The case is U.S. ex rel. Hammett v. Lexington County Health Services, No. 3:14-cv-3653-CMC, (D.S.Car.).

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