Vermont Whistleblower News
Burlington, Vermont. The Department of Justice has announced a unique and record-breaking settlement of a False Claims Act lawsuit against eClinicalWorks, the country’s leading provider of Electronic Health Record (“EHR”) software. The company has agreed to pay $155 million. It signals the critical importance of electronic health record systems and an increased focus on the products being offered. Because of the critical role it now plays in the delivery of healthcare, EHR software should be subject to an increased level of regulatory and enforcement scrutiny. The case was filed in Burlington Vermont and overseen by the United States Attorney’s Office in Vermont and the Department of Justice.
In May of 2015, Brendan Delaney, a software technician who had helped providers implement eClinicalWorks’ EHR software, filed a whistleblower case under seal alleging that eClinicalWorks had falsely obtained CMS certification of its software. Specifically, he alleged that eClinicalWorks’ EHR software exhibited various functionality shortcomings, such as failing to document and display information relating to the patient’s medications and laboratory results. The complaint said that had CMS known of the problems when eClinicalWorks’ software was undergoing CMS certification testing, CMS would not have certified the software and, therefore, providers who subsequently used eClinicalWorks’ software would not have received Meaningful Use incentive payments.
This year, the DOJ intervened and said that the software had significant flaws which company management were aware of. In addition, the DOJ said that eClinicalWorks violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute by providing payments to existing eClinicalWorks’ customers who referred new prospective customers to the company, notwithstanding that these referral payments were open and obvious and are commonplace in the EHR industry.
Whistleblower Delaney will receive $30 million from the settlement. He is represented by the firm Phillips & Cohen. The settlement also resolves allegations that ECW paid kickbacks to certain customers in exchange for promoting its product. The settlement also resolves allegations that ECW paid kickbacks to certain customers in exchange for promoting its product.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers but not the whistleblower in this case.