Hope Cancer Institute, Inc., and its owner, oncologist Dr. Raj Sadasivan, have agreed to pay the United States over $2.9 million to settle claims that they defrauded federally-funded medical insurance programs.
Dr. Sadasivan founded Hope Cancer Institute in 1997. Since that time, Dr. Sadasivan has owned and operated Hope Cancer, providing chemotherapy drug treatments to cancer patients.
Acting as whisteblowers on behalf of the United States, on March 1, 2012, three employees of Hope Cancer, Krisha Turner, Crystal Dercher and Amanda Reynolds, filed a lawsuit alleging that Hope Cancer, acting through Dr. Sadasivan, had defrauded the United States by causing federally-funded medical insurance programs to overpay for chemotherapy drugs that had been provided to cancer patients. Specifically, the whistleblowers, referred to as "Relators" under the federal False Claims Act, alleged that Dr. Sadisvan had routinely submitted falsified medical records in order to receive payments for twice the dosages of infusions of chemotherapy drugs than the dosages the patients had actually received. The Relators are represented by attorneys Michael Brady and Mark Kistler of the law firm Brady & Associates in Overland Park, Kansas.
After the Relators filed the lawsuit, attorneys for the United States Department of Justice investigated the matter and intervened in the case on January 6, 2014. Pursuant to the terms of a recently finalized settlement agreement, Hope Cancer and Dr. Sadasivan have agreed to pay the United States $2,945,187, plus interest. In the settlement agreement, the United States contends that Hope Cancer and Dr. Sadasivan defrauded Medicare, Medicaid and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program by overbilling for chemotherapy drugs, including Rituxan, Avastin and Taxotere.
In addition to monetary penalties to be paid, Dr. Sadasivan and Hope Cancer agreed to be excluded from participating in Medicare, Medicaid, and all other Federal health care programs for a period of 10 years.
The federal False Claims Act provides incentives for private citizens with knowledge of fraud against the United States and any of its agencies to come forward. Such whistleblower lawsuits must be filed "under seal" to allow the United States Department of Justice an opportunity to investigate prior to any public disclosure of the lawsuit. If the United States Department of Justice intervenes in the case, the Act generally provides for the Relator(s) to be awarded a share of between 15 percent and 25 percent of the United States' recovery.
The Relators' share of the proceeds of the settlement with Hope Cancer and Dr. Sadasivan will be determined later, as the settlement process moves forward. The Relators' legal counsel in this matter, Michael Brady and Mark Kistler, can be contacted at Brady & Associates, 10901 Lowell Avenue, Suite 280, Overland Park, Kansas 66210, or by phone, 913-696-0925.