University of Florida Agrees to Pay Nearly $20 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

Tuesday, November 24, 2015
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law


The University of Florida (UF) has agreed to pay nearly $20 million to the federal government to settle allegations brought under the False Claims Act. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the settlement Friday under allegations that it "improperly charged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for salary and administrative costs on hundreds of federal grants."

According to the investigation, the improper use of funds occurred from 2005 to 2010 at the UF campuses in Gainesville and Jacksonville. To read the settlement agreement on this case, click here.
To read one of our previous blogs in a similar FCA case, click here.


Improper Use of Funds.


Federal officials claimed that UF overcharged HHS on hundreds of grants for the costs of employee salaries and administrative costs for equipment and supplies. Additionally, the university allegedly inflated costs charged to HHS grants awarded at its Jacksonville campus for services performed by an affiliate entity.


Funding for Medical Research and Clinical Programs.

The federal grants in question in this investigation were used to fund medical research and clinical investigations. In a statement, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division said, "The monies utilized by HHS to fund important medical research and clinical programs across the nation are both precious and limited. Today's settlement demonstrates that the Department of Justice will pursue grantees that knowingly divert those funds from the projects for which they were provided."

To read the press release from the Department of Justice, click here. To read the University of Florida's press release on the settlement, click here.


Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Qui Tam or Whistleblower Cases.

Attorneys with The Health Law Firm also represent health care professionals and health facilities in qui tam or whistleblower cases both in defending such claims and in bringing such claims. We have developed relationships with recognized experts in health care accounting, health care financing, utilization review, medical review, filling, coding, and other services that assist us in such matters. We have represented doctors, nurses and others as relators in bringing qui tam or whistleblower cases, as well.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Sources:


Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs. "University of Florida Agrees to Pay $19.875 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations." Press Release. Justice News: 20 Nov. 2015. Web.

Hale, Nathan. "U.Of Fla. To Pay $19.9M To Settle Grant Overcharge Claims." Law360. 20 Nov. 2015. Web.

Magoc, Ethan. "University of Florida Agrees to $19.8M Federal Settlement." WGCU News. 20, Nov. 2015. Web.


About the Author:
George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of 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 Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.



Keywords:
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11/24/2015

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