The federal government has settled a case against a longtime San Antonio medical group. Kellum Family Medical Practice Associates was accused of falsely billing the federal government. The lawsuit, a qui tam lawsuit, also known as a whistle blower lawsuit, started when a former employee claimed the Kellum clinic submitted false bills for medicare and medicaid patients. The former employee, Julie Hajek Stewart, claimed the practice was billing at physician rates for work performed by non-physicians.
The Kellums denied the allegations but they have settled. Qui tam lawsuits work like this one did: a former employee files the initial lawsuit. The US Attorney’s office then joins the lawsuit if it thinks the evidence is strong enough. The US Attorney joined this lawsuit sometime back and have now reached an agreed settlement. The employee will get 10-25% of the settlement, says the San Antonio Express News. See report. Typically, settlements in qui tam cases are in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.
The Kellum family practice operates 10 clinics, with 6 in San Antonio. They deny liability but have settled. The settlement amount has not been disclosed, yet. As part of the settlement, the Kellums will enter into a corporate integrity agreement, which essentially amounts to a five year probation.