The two whistleblowers who launched the federal investigation of Redding (Calif.) Medical Center will share a reward of $8.1 million, or 15% of the $54 million that Tenet Healthcare Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif., paid in August 2003 to settle most of its potential liabilities in the case.
The U.S. attorney in Sacramento, Calif., announced the deal between the federal government and the whistleblowers, the Revs. John Corapi and Joseph Zerga.
Corapi and Zerga accused two physicians at Redding of performing unnecessary cardiac procedures. They brought their accusations to the FBI in July 2002 and filed a False Claims Act case against Tenet, Redding and the physicians in November 2002.
The False Claims Act sets whistleblowers' share of settlements at 15% to 25%.
Tenet's payment was a record amount for a fraud case involving a single hospital. The company did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, which covered Tenet's potential criminal liability and most of its civil liability.
Tenet has agreed to sell Redding to avoid the hospital's exclusion from federal healthcare programs by HHS' inspector general's office. No criminal charges have been filed against the physicians or other parties in the case.