Phillips & Cohen LLP secured a $155 million settlement in May on behalf of a whistleblower who provided key information to the federal government about the security of electronic health records (EHR) and data. The defendant, eClinicalWorks (eCW), was charged with civil fraud and kickbacks regarding their handling of prison inmates’ records.

“This is a ground-breaking case,” stated Colette G. Matzzie, a whistleblower attorney and partner at Phillips & Cohen. “It is the first time that the government has held an electronic health records vendor accountable for failing to meet federal standards designed to ensure patient safety and quality patient care.”

This is also the first time the government applied the federal Anti-Kickback statute law to the promotion and sale of electronic health records. The whistleblower in the case was Brendan Delaney, a New York City employee implementing eCW EHR system at Rikers Island for prisoner healthcare. It was then when he first became aware of numerous software problems that he alleged put patients at risk.

The complaint alleged that, among a litany of infractions, eCW falsely certified it met all government criteria and met the federal “Meaningful Use” rules, failed to reliably record laboratory and diagnostic images, had critical software bugs. It was also accused of paying an estimated $392,000 in kickbacks to influential customers to recommend eClinicalWorks products to prospective customers, and other kickbacks in the form of “consulting” and “speaker” fees.

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