On Wednesday in the Eastern District of Michigan, an individual filed a complaint against her former employer, alleging that employees at the workplace violated the False Claims Act (FCA) through misreading ultrasound scans that purportedly could lead to unnecessary medical care and that her voiced opposition to the alleged conduct resulted in her position being terminated.
The plaintiff, a Michigan resident, was employed at Metro Vein Centers as an ultrasound technician starting about April 2017. Appointed to a compliance and quality assurance team around October 2019, the plaintiff and other team members concluded that Metro technologists “routinely” were improperly conducting ultrasounds by measuring extra noise on the scans “in order to justify unnecessary medical procedures,” according to the complaint.
After a brief closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the plaintiff learned that another quality assurance team member was told that the team should put the compliance checks “on hold” and instead focus on performing ultrasounds full time. In June 2020, the team resumed and found that “the unethical and inappropriate behavior had continued without improvement,” the complaint said.
A team member of the plaintiff allegedly was terminated in July 2020, just two days after sending an email to officials at Metro that had attached quality assurance audits detailing the purported improper and unethical conduct, according to the complaint.
In August 2020, the plaintiff filed a report with the Department of Health and Human Services, outlining the alleged conduct she was observing, such as the regular inaccurate measurements and improper scan readings. In November 2020, the plaintiff’s employment was terminated.
The plaintiff argued that the hold on compliance checks, the termination of her team member, and her ultimate termination were efforts to circumvent any opposition to the “ongoing fraudulent practices” at the clinic. She claimed that because the purported conduct may lead to patients receiving unnecessary medical treatment, Metro was in violation of the FCA, and because she spoke out against the conduct she believed to be violating the FCA, her termination by Metro thereafter was an act of retaliation.
The plaintiff claimed she has suffered earnings loss, job and career opportunity loss, damage to her reputation, and mental and emotional distress, among other damages.
She is requesting compensatory damages and to be reinstated to her previous position, plus other relief. The plaintiff is represented by Gasiorek, Morgan, Greco, McCauley & Kotzian.