Thursday, May 4, 2006
Leon Rodriguez, of Ober Kaler in Washington, D.C., spoke about health care fraud. He noted that there are a growing number of cases in the kickback and Starke area because of the commercial nature of the medical world. Attorney Rodriguez stated that the big issue in health care is the false claims act cases. Most of the cases begin as whistleblower actions under the false claims act -- cases seeking substantial damages – and that some of these cases then progress into a criminal prosecution.
Rodriguez brought out that so much of what is discussed with regard to health care pertains to three cases: TAP (anti-cancer drug case), Tenet (had its second mistrial), and the Columbia cases. But he noted there really are many other every-day type of cases that make up the health care fraud criminal practice.
Discussing the Whiteside case he reminded the audience of a key point made by the court- "[i]n a case where the truth or falsity of a statement centers on an interpretive question of law, the government bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s statement is not true under a reasonable interpretation of the law." He then laid out key points to consider when building a Whiteside Defense. Three initial key points that he noted are:
- Determine provision is believed to have been violated by client;
- Does the provision work the way the prosecution says it does;
- Prosecutors and regulators are not always on the same page.