Healthcare Business News

DaVita settles False Claims case for $55 million

By Paul Barr
Posted: July 3, 2012 - 3:00 pm ET

DaVita, Denver, announced it had settled a False Claims Act lawsuit filed by a whistle-blower over the dialysis provider's administration of the anemia drug Epogen, settling for $55 million at a total estimated cost of $78 million.

DaVita's agreement includes no finding of wrongdoing or admission of liability, and DaVita claims that the company and its affiliated physicians “did nothing wrong and stand by their anemia management practices,” according to a DaVita news release. “Nonetheless, agreements such as this one are sometimes in the best interest of shareholders,” DaVita wrote in the release.

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The lawsuit was filed by Ivey Woodard, a former Amgen employee who claimed that DaVita allowed Amgen employees to, among other things, review charts of patients, which led to increased dosages of Epogen in some cases, according to the suit. The federal government declined to intervene in the suit and is not pursuing the matter, according to DaVita's latest annual report.

Fresenius Medical Care, Waltham, Mass., was dismissed as a defendant in the suit in 2010, according to court documents.

DaVita still faces investigations in other states that are mainly related to the company's dealings with physicians and joint ventures, according to its annual report. DaVita also is under investigation in New York by HHS' Inspector General's Office by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, regarding its Medicaid-backed care.

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