Mauricio Leon, M.D., one-time senior director of medical informatics in the Seattle office of IDX Systems Corp., sued the Burlington, Vt.-based electronic medical records vendor last month, charging that the company retaliated against him for attempting to blow the whistle on an alleged scheme to defraud the government.
IDX denies all the allegations.
IDX on April 25 had sued Leon in the same federal court in Seattle. The suit asks a judge to determine that a federal law protecting whistleblowers from retaliation should not apply to the company if IDX terminates Leon, the former lead physician on a federally funded clinical decision support project.
Leon's attorney says IDX placed the physician on unpaid administrative leave April 25 and indicated at press time that he expected Leon to be fired before the end of May. Leon accuses IDX of falsifying documents submitted to federal officials, lying about plans to carry out the project and defrauding joint-venture partners.
IDX says in its April lawsuit that "at some point in late 2002" Leon filed a qui tam (whistleblower) suit against the company, an action that would be under court seal. In the May 21 suit, Leon "in no way concedes or otherwise states that a qui tam action has been filed against IDX."
Because qui tam suits are filed under court seal, former Seattle assistant U.S. attorney Harold Malkin calls IDX and Leon's mention of a possible qui tam action "somewhat unique and unusual."