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Law Office of Jeffrey Friedman, P.C.
Updated: 4 hours 26 min ago

Health Care Fraud

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 10:57

Health care fraud

Health care fraud is a growing problem and affects all states – Illinois included. It exists in many forms and practices, such as submission of fraudulent bills to Medicare and private insurers, falsification of diagnoses to justify expensive tests, and performing procedures that are not medically necessary. There have also been reports that certain long term health care facilities, including nursing homes, who are allotted money from Medicare for the care and treatment of a Medicare beneficiary, do not use all of the allotted dollars for the comprehensive care of the residents for whom the money was intended. In some cases, the nursing home provides the resident the bare minimum care and treatment to incur only a portion of the allotted Medicare money for that resident’s care, and then the retaining the rest of the money. In those situations, while Medicare (and, more broadly, the government) is a victim of fraud, the overlooked victim is often the nursing home resident who was deprived of needed care and treatment.

According to a recent Chicago Law Bulletin article, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois has established a new unit in his office to battle health care fraud because “health care providers who cheat the system must be held accountable.” So far, more than 400 defendants in 41 districts across the country, including two doctors and several other medical professionals in Northern Illinois, were charged in various schemes that involved about $1.3 billion in false billings.

The local health care fraud unit is strategically staffed with prosecutors who understand the intricacies of the health care system so that they can recognize which facilities made innocent mistakes and which ones engaged in intentional fraud.

Employees of health care facilities (especially those in the billing or accounting departments who are privy to the way the facility handles its finances as well as patient billing) can also help. Health care employees who witness or have knowledge about their employer’s fraudulent practices can also bring a legal action on behalf of the government who is being defrauded. If the case is successful, the employee may be entitled to a portion of the settlement or verdict that the government obtains.  The Law Office of Jeffrey Friedman, P.C. can represent those health care employees in these cases, as they come forward to expose this conduct, and seek to recover damages.

If you or someone you know have knowledge about a health care facility’s fraudulent practices, please call the Law Office of Jeffrey Friedman, P.C. at 312-357-1431 to discuss how we can help.

Emails May Sink Chicago’s Water Department

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:38

When someone experiences discrimination at work – whether on the basis of his race, gender, age, sexual orientation – the victim should go to the company’s leadership to address and remedy the discrimination. But what happens when the discrimination originates with the very leadership who is supposed to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place?

According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, the Tribune had obtained copies of over 1,300 emails from the Chicago Water Department and found that many of those emails contained highly offensive, derogatory and discriminatory content and language that was not only entirely inappropriate for the workplace but also constituted an outright violation of state and federal employment laws.

Many of the emails contained racist, sexist and homophobic messages. For instance, the Tribune found emails containing “an image of a Ku Klux Klan ‘scarecrow’ amid a watermelon field, a picture of a naked woman on a beach and off-color comments about gay people,” among other offensive messages. Perhaps even more troubling than the content itself is the concern that these emails and their discriminatory and offensive nature was completely condoned by leadership. Not only were the emails sent and received by supervisors, including recently ousted department Commissioner, but there is no evidence that any supervisors did anything to stop these emails from being written, and circulated. Moreover, “in at least one case, [Commissioner] Murphy forwarded an offensive email to another department employee.”

The investigation that originally revealed these emails ultimately led to several resignations of department officials.

After those resignations, in early June 2017, the Tribune obtained additional emails that included racially insensitive, anti-Islamic and sexist messages. This discovery caused the department to provide all of its managers and supervisors with additional training on federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations designed to prevent discrimination in the workplace.

This discovery of the racist, sexist and homophobic emails was the foundation for a federal race discrimination lawsuit that was filed by African-American employees of the Chicago water department, who claim that they were denied promotions, subjected to racial slurs and sexually harassed because of their race.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if similar lawsuits are filed alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination and discrimination based on sexual orientation. Only time will tell – but it seems that the City’s efforts to obtain resignations from these wrongdoing higher-ups are an example of “too little, too late.”

If you believe that you are being sexually harassed at work, or are the victim of any kind of discrimination at work, please call the Law Office of Jeffrey Friedman, P.C. at 312-357-1431 for a free consultation.