Healthcare News & Insights

Company accused of wasting drugs to bilk Medicare

A major health care company has been accused of deliberately wasting drugs to make more money from Medicare. The allegations come from a whistle-blower lawsuit by a former nurse and doctor employed by the company.

DaVita, a leading provider of kidney dialysis, is accused of using the wrong size vial of drug so it could get additional reimbursements from Medicare. For example, instead of giving patients an entire100 mg vial of the iron drug Venofer once or twice a month, the company allegedly gave more frequent, smaller doses — while wasting the excess medicine in the vials. Then Medicare would be billed for each 100 mg vial used.

Because Medicare reimburses slightly more than health care companies pay for the drugs, such waste can be profitable.

DaVita denies the allegations and said that all dosing decisions were made my doctors for medical reasons and that reimbursements didn’t play a role in that process.

The feds investigated the complaints for two years, but opted not to join the lawsuit.

Medicare has since changed the way it reimburses, so waste of drugs would no longer be a potential money-maker.

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