In 2022, the federal government and multiple state governments intervened in this qui tam action which was originally filed by Cohen Milstein on behalf of the whistleblowers, two board-certified nephrologists, against Fresenius Vascular Care, Inc. and affiliated defendants. A government intervention in a whistleblower lawsuit means that the government believes the case has merit and is stepping in to pursue the allegations against the defendants on its own. The whistleblower complaint alleges that the defendants violated the federal and state false claims acts by performing unnecessary surgical procedures on dialysis patients and then fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid for them, thereby subjecting these vulnerable patients to health risks and defrauding the government and taxpayers of many millions of dollars. The action seeks treble damages and civil penalties. In July 2022 the federal government filed its intervention complaint in this action and subsequently amended it to add defendant Gregg Miller, M.D., a Fresenius executive.
On October 3, 2023, on behalf of their respective states, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr, and New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin, filed their own intervention complaint in this action alleging state law false claims act violations against Fresenius Vascular Care, Inc. and affiliated defendants, based upon the fraudulent conduct alleged in the whistleblowers’ complaint. According to the Office of the New York Attorney General’s press release, its lawsuit is based on investigations conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units in connection with our lawsuit. Cohen Milstein and the whistleblowers continue to litigate these same claims on behalf of 16 additional states.
Cohen Milstein and the whistleblowers continue to litigate the action collaboratively with the federal and state governments, including on behalf of 16 additional states.
From 2012 through the present, Fresenius Vascular Care has owned, operated, or controlled dozens of dialysis access management centers throughout the country and performed tens of thousands of medically unnecessary vascular interventions—fistulagrams (x-rays using an injection of contrast dye) and angioplasties—on End Stage Renal Disease patients whose kidneys can no longer cleanse their blood. Fresenius scheduled these vulnerable dialysis patients for repeat visits every few months and subjected them to invasive and potentially harmful procedures without clinical justification in order to fraudulently bill Medicare and Medicaid for hundreds of millions of dollars in reimbursement.
Case name: U.S. ex rel. Pepe M.D. and Sherman, M.D. v. Fresenius Vascular Care, Inc., et al. No. 14-cv-3505 (E.D.N.Y.)