GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Bracker & Marcus LLC announced today a $117 million False Claims Act settlement with Universal Health Services, Inc., resolving eighteen lawsuits filed against the hospital system, including by its client Heidi Parent-Leonard. Psychiatrist Jahandar Saifollahi, M.D., and Behavioral Health Care, P.C., separately settled claims for an additional $85,000.
Coming Together to Protect Fragile Citizens
When social worker Heidi Parent-Leonard began working as a case manager at Forest View Psychiatric Hospital in Grand Rapids, she was stunned by the inadequacy of the services being provided. "[Primary psychiatrist] Dr. Saifollahi would line patients up in the hallway and spend five minutes talking to each, one after another," said Parent-Leonard. "Nobody was getting the help they needed."
These brief meetings, Parent-Leonard alleged, were billed to Medicare and Medicaid as costly therapy sessions. Parent-Leonard also alleged that the hospital admitted ineligible patients and under-medicated patients to lengthen their stays.
After reporting her concerns to CMS, Parent-Leonard retained Bracker & Marcus LLC to file one of the eighteen qui tam lawsuits that would ultimately be brought against UHS.
"I'm both proud and grateful that the situation has been resolved in a way that acknowledges patients' dignity and rights as the primary focus of ethical treatment and practice," said Parent-Leonard. "My hope is that the hospital and its parent company will learn from these lawsuits and foster a culture of quality, respect, and honest dealings with their patients."
"This settlement is a demonstration of the combined might that private citizens have as whistleblowers," said Parent-Leonard's attorney, Jason Marcus. "Had just one or two employees reported their concerns, this misconduct would likely have continued at the other facilities. Because eighteen whistleblowers came forward, the Department of Justice secured a comprehensive settlement that will improve psychiatric care for thousands of patients nationwide."
The case is captioned United States ex rel. Parent-Leonard v. Forest View Psychiatric Hospital, et al., 1:18-cv-1426 (W.D. Mich.).
False Claims Act lawyers Julie Bracker and Jason Marcus have a combined 26 years of experience representing whistleblowers nationwide. Since 2015, they have recovered more than $220 million for United States taxpayers. For more information about filing a False Claims Act case, visit www.FCAcounsel.com or call (770) 988-5035.
SOURCE Bracker & Marcus LLC