(Reuters) – The United States has joined a lawsuit against a whistleblower who accuses a German Fresenius Medical Care AG unit of defrauding Medicare and other healthcare programs by charging for medically unnecessary interventions on dialysis patients.
According to a civil complaint filed late Tuesday night, Fresenius Vascular Care violated the federal law on false claims by routinely performing procedures on patients with end-stage renal disease at nine facilities in New York City and its suburbs from January 2012 to June 2018.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Fresenius deliberately performed angioplasties and fistulograms, both of which involve insertions or injections into veins and arteries, to increase revenue and help facilities meet performance measures.
Many patients who received the procedures were elderly, low-income or disadvantaged minorities, the department said.
In a statement, Fresenius said they questioned the allegations and intended to vigorously defend themselves.
In a statement, the American lawyer Breon Peace in Brooklyn called Fresenius̵7; behavior “terrible”.
The lawsuit was originally filed in June 2014 by two doctors, John Pepe from Staten Island in New York City and Richard Sherman from Westfield, New Jersey, court papers show.
Dr. Pepe said in a statement that Fresenius “put patients at risk to support their results.”
The False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to sue on behalf of the federal government and share recoveries.