Qui Tam Action Involving Duplicate Blood Tests
Quest Diagnostics, Inc. (“Quest”) agreed to pay nearly $1.8 million to settle a qui tam case brought by Elisa Martinez, a former Quest employee and phlebotomist. Ms. Martinez was represented by Michael I. Behn of Behn & Wyetzner, Chartered, and the Hirst Law Group. The False Claims Act complaint alleged that Quest fraudulently submitted claims to governmental health care programs for blood tests performed on the same patient on the same day.
As described in the complaint, on several occasions during her employment, Ms. Martinez complained to her colleagues and supervisors that it was wrong to obtain multiple vials of blood and perform the same test twice on the same patient. Ms. Martinez also confirmed that Quest billed each test separately. Despite Ms. Martinez’s concerns, Quest continued its alleged billing practices.
After the whistleblower complaint was filed, the U.S. Department of Justice investigated and substantiated Ms. Martinez’s allegations. The efforts of federal prosecutor Catherine Swann, assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, and her investigative team, led by David Poulson, were critical to to the successful resolution of this matter.
The settlement agreed to by Quest puts an end to the allegedly unlawful billing practices and recovers needed funds for U.S. taxpayers.
Quest denies any liability or wrongdoing.