On September 27, 2011, the US Attorney’s office in Knoxville, Tennessee announced that Hill-Rom Company, Inc. has agreed to pay $41.8 million to settle allegations brought against it under the False Claims Act.
Hill-Rom is a medical-equipment company based in Indiana and is a major supplier of hospital beds and support surfaces. The qui-tam lawsuit accused the company of knowingly submitting false claims to Medicare from 1999 to 2007 for bed support surfaces meant to treat pressure ulcers and bedsores for patients who did not qualify for the equipment. Hill-Rom allegedly submitted these false claims for patients who no longer needed the equipment, including claims for patients who had died or were no longer using the equipment. In addition to the $41.8 million dollars the company is going to pay, Hill-Rom has also agreed to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General to ensure its future compliance with the federal health care benefit program requirements.
The case was originally filed under seal on April 20, 2005. It was filed by two whistleblowers, who were former and current employees of Hill-Rom, through their attorney David Burkhalter. Laurie Salmons and Lisa Brocco are both trained nurses who served as sales representatives for the company when they discovered the fraud. They are to collectively receive $8.36 million as their reward for bringing this case to the attention of the government.
Many departments of the government were involved in investigating this case. These departments include: the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General , the FBI, the Railroad Retirement Board Office of Inspector General (RRB-OIG), the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, the US Attorney’s office for the District of South Carolina, and the US Department of Justice.
To date, over $22 billion dollars have been recovered for the Government since the 1986 Amendments to the False Claims Act.