Dr. Judy Robinson, James Hoyer client and whistleblower in the $18 million IU Health/HealthNet case, spoke on the whistleblower panel at the annual Taxpayers Against Fraud Conference in Washington D.C. on November 3rd. Dr. Robinson gave a powerful presentation talking about the important and sometimes difficult road whistleblowers face in order to do the right thing.
Dr. Robinson with James Hoyer Investigator & Communications Director Angie Moreschi
Dr. Robinson is a prominent Indianapolis Ob/Gyn and former employee of both IU Health and HealthNet, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) which primarily provides services to low income populations. She came forward as a whistleblower to expose what she believed was substandard care being provided to pregnant women and babies on Medicaid. Her case was featured prominently in both local and national media, drawing attention to the need to protect those women and babies. The Indiana Trial Lawyers Association will name her Consumer Advocate of the Year at their annual luncheon on November 7th.
Dr. Robinson’s qui tam suit alleged that IU Health and HealthNet violated Indiana Medicaid rules to save money by using CNMs, instead of doctors, to care for medically high-risk pregnant women. She documented three instances of babies suffering permanent neurological damage and 17 “near misses” in just six months, as a result of care to high risk patients by CNMs. When her efforts to change the system fell on deaf ears, Dr. Robinson was ostracized and ultimately fired. She then learned that billing for CNM care of high risk patients violates Indiana Medicaid rules and felt compelled to bring her information forward to the government.
TAF Chairman Neil Getnick, Dr. Robinson, and fellow whistleblowers Eben Steele & Don Galmines
Dr. Robinson, along with her attorneys from the James Hoyer Firm, ultimately secured an $18 million settlement from two of Indiana’s largest healthcare providers to resolve illegal kickback claims and and an additional $1.4 million for false billing claims. In addition, HealthNet agreed to a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the federal government related to the kickback allegations, which required the clinic to restructure and maintain complete independence from IU Health. In a written agreement, HealthNet also agreed to follow the rules and change its practice of having CNMs care for high risk pregnant women. IU Health must submit to regular monitoring.