The degree of medical treatment a patient undergoes may determine the amount of Medicare reimbursement a medical facility will receive. Families may feel skeptical toward extensive healing of their loved ones; sometimes with good reason. While some treatments are overcompensated to help ensure a full recovery, others are simply unnecessary.
Vladimir Trakhter, a former Olympia Therapy, Inc. physical therapist working at an Ohio nursing home, produced valid claims of abuse against Olympia, the nursing home, and the management company (Provider Services, Inc.). Trakhter witnessed first-hand the extent to which patients, particularly the elderly with cognitive limitations, would be administered therapy that would exceed the threshold of what their bodies could handle.
One patient with back ailments was forced to participate in a 75-minute therapy session, which resulted in a compression fracture. He had expressed his concern and desire to stop the therapy, but was met with refusal from medical staff. Another patient with heart issues suffered a heart attack and died after arguing with a therapist about the increased overtreatment he was receiving.
Based on these accounts, among others, a lawsuit was filed by Trakhter on behalf of the United States under the False Claims Act. This act allows an individual, who has witnessed some form of fraudulent activity against the Federation Government, to act on its behalf in filing a lawsuit. In this case, Trakhter took on the role of whistleblower in bringing the Medicare fraud to light. He is protected as the party who aided in the silencing of this healthcare scheme.
All parties involved have agreed to settle the lawsuit, for the price of $22.4 million. While the United States will retrieve $19.5 for Medicare reimbursement, Trakhter will see $2.9 million as a reward for his efforts. Trakhter is the example of someone who took a stand against practices he felt were both unethical and illegal.