Whistle-blowers are suing the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, alleging that it illegally paid for patient referrals in violation of the anti-kickback statute and the False Claims Act.
Three former employees of the foundation filed a lawsuit in February. They filed an amended complaint in April after the federal government and the state of Florida declined to join the case.
The whistle-blowers allege that the foundation started rewarding patients for using its services and paying employees for referring patients to the foundation's testing, clinical, pharmacy and insurance service centers. They allege these illegal incentives started in California and spread to 11 other states.
The illegal referrals then led to false and fraudulent claims to federal healthcare programs including Medicare, Medicaid and HIV/AIDS assistance programs. The whistle-blowers allege federal healthcare programs doled out tens of millions of dollars in payments because of the fraudulent claims.
The whistle-blowers are Jack Carrel, former director of public health at the foundation's Southern bureau; Mauricio Ferrer, a former senior program manager at the Southern bureau; and Shawn Loftis, a former grants manager at the Southern bureau.