Ex-Warner Chilcott Manager Sentenced to Probation and $10,000 Fine for Health Care Fraud & HIPAA Violations

Monday, November 7, 2016
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law


On November 4, 2016, a federal judge sentenced Landon Eckles, a former manager at Warner Chilcott, to one year of probation and a $10,000 fine after he pled guilty to wrongful disclosure of protected health information (PHI).  According to U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen M. Oritiz, his sentence could have been much worse as he pled guilty to a criminal violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Warner Chilcott is a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company and according to court documents, Eckles violated health privacy laws by filling out prior authorization forms for doctors who prescribed the Warner Chilcott bone medicine Atelvia®.


Overstepping HIPAA Laws.

According to the government, Eckles, who worked in the company’s osteoporosis division, told sales representatives to fill out prior authorizations, which are required for reimbursement, for the drug Atelvia®  if doctors refused to do it themselves. According to prosecutors, Eckles and the reps used patients’ “protected health information” to fill out those forms.

The sales team at Warner Chilcott used patient charts to push doctors to prescribe as they were encouraged to “flag” patients’ medical charts with Atelvia® brochures. Therefore, Eckles and the sales representatives accessed patients’ PHI in violation of HIPAA, the release said.  In part, as a result of his scheme, it is alleged that Eckles received a bonus of approximately $60,000 in 2011.

Click here to read the press release in full from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Eckles is the fifth individual charged in connection with the fraud investigation against Warner Chilcott.  In October 2015, Warner Chilcott agreed to plead guilty to health care fraud and pay $125 million to resolve a joint criminal and civil investigation. In addition, the former President of Warner Chilcott was indicted for conspiracy to pay kickbacks

Additionally, two other former district managers plead guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Click here to learn more.


To learn more about the repercussions of health care fraud, HIPAA violations and how to prevent them, click here to read one of my prior blogs.


Contact a Health Law Attorney Experienced in Defending HIPAA Complaints and Violations.


The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare providers and institutions in investigating and defending alleged HIPAA complaints and violations and in preparing Corrective Action Plans (CAPs).
 
For more information about HIPAA violations, electronic health records or corrective action plans (CAPs) please visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com or call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001.


Sources:

“Warner Chilcott Managers Sentenced for Health Care Fraud, HIPAA Violations.” AHLA Weekly. (November 4, 2016). Web.

Staton, Stacey. “Ex-Warner sales exec gets probation, $10K fine in prior auth HIPAA case.” Fierce Pharma. (October 31, 2016). Web.


About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.


KeyWords: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations, legal representation for HIPAA violations, wrongful disclosure of protected health information (PHI), HIPAA violation defense attorney, PHI defense lawyer, submitting false claims to the government,  HIPAA investigation defense attorney, legal representation for health care fraud, health care fraud defense attorney, legal representation for illegal kickbacks, reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews, Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) defense lawyer, consumer reports of Medicare fraud

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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11/7/2016

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