For the first settlement as part of the Department of Justice’s Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative, DOJ settled a case against medical services government contractor Comprehensive Health Services, LLC (CHS) for $930,000. This settlement resolves allegations brought forth in two qui tam lawsuits, where four whistleblowers filed suit on behalf of the government under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act. Three of the whistleblowers received $15,000, in addition to attorneys’ fees, and one relator received $127,050 for reporting fraud.
“This settlement serves notice to federal contractors that they will be held accountable for conduct that puts private medical records and patient safety at risk,” said the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
CHS, as part of the medical services they provided to the U.S. government, was paid to implement a secure electronic medical record (EMR) system as part of contracts with the State Department and Air Force at various U.S. consulate and military locations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The EMR system housed personal health information and medical records for anyone who received medical treatment at the locations CHS served, including U.S. service members, diplomats, officials, and contractors. According to the allegations, CHS did not consistently store patients’ medical records on the secure EMR system and indeed left scans on a network drive which non-clinical staff could access.