San Francisco-based healthcare giant McKesson (NYSE:MCK) dodged a Medicare fraud lawsuit this week after a federal judge ruled that prospective whistleblower Leslie Ann Williams didn’t have enough evidence to support her accusations.
Williams, who began working at McKesson in 2007, alleged that she discovered a "series of false Medicare/Medicaid claims" in which McKesson together with Houston dentist Dr. Stephen Larson had secured reimbursement for services that were outside of Larson’s licensure.
U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice, saying that there was no indication that the services McKesson had billed for weren’t actually provided, even if they were outside of Larson’s field of expertise.
"The government is alleged to have received exactly what it paid for," Judge Boyle wrote in the court’s opinion. "The complaint does not plausibly demonstrate a factually false claim."
Larson holds a "Doctor of Medical Dentistry" and works in the anesthesia department of the University of Texas Health Science Center, but Williams claimed that he "was billing for and providing supervision for anesthesia services outside the scope of general dentistry and oral dentistry."
The lawsuit further alleged that Larson had falsely signed records as an M.D. on his own and others’ paperwork in order to ensure payment from insurance providers.
Williams said that she notified her supervisor about the issue several times over the course of about a year, warning of a pattern of complications with Larson’s claims. Williams was given her 30-day termination notice just a single day after she approached a manager about reviewing Larson’s credentials, she told the court.
The court ruled that Williams’ lawsuit failed to meet the standards for a False Claims Act violation because there was no evidence suggesting that Larson failed to provide the services that were reimbursed. Williams’ wrongful termination claims were also dismissed, because they hinged on the fraud allegations.