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University of California Settles Whistleblower Suit

A whistleblower suit targeting the anesthesiology department at UCI Medical Center has been settled for $1.2 million. According to the government, the settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in 2008 under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act by Dr. Dennis O’Connor, a former professor of anesthesiology at the UCI School of Medicine.

The whistleblower alleged that anesthesia was administered by nurse anesthetists or anesthesiology residents without a supervising anesthesiologist present in violation of medical regulations. In addition, the whistleblower claimed that anesthesiologists completed patient care reports prior to commencement of the procedures to make it appear that an anesthesiologist was present during the procedure when, in fact, he or she wasn’t.

The government alleged that UCI Medical Center submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for inadequately performed anesthesiology services. In settlement of the allegations, the University of California has agreed to pay $1.2 million.

As his reward under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, the whistleblower will receive $120,000 of the settlement amount.