An acclaimed Washington D.C. doctor has filed a federal whistleblower complaint against United Medical Center and its management company Veritas of Washington LLC alleging he lost his job in retaliation for standing up to practices that he says compromised patient health and safety and cheated the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Dr. Julian Craig accepted a position as the Chief Medical Officer for United Medical Center, Washington D.C.’s only public hospital, in 2015. He remained there until Nov. 18, 2017, when he was fired after testifying before the D.C. City Council about “the hospital’s improper admission practices, malfeasance affecting patient health and safety, and submission of fraudulent statements to Medicare and Medicaid at the direction of Veritas,” his whistleblower lawsuit states.
The lawsuit also notes that during his short time at the hospital, Dr. Craig twice won United Medical Center’s Physician of the Year award.
Dr. Craig alleges that hospital management and patient care deteriorated when Veritas took over the hospital’s management in 2016.
According to the whistleblower complaint:
Upon assuming management control of UMC, Veritas engaged in inappropriate and unlawful practices for the purported purpose of improving the Hospital’s finances. Under Veritas’ direction, UMC eliminated positions that were critical for protecting patient health and safety, unilaterally attempted to reduce Dr. Craig’s pay and hours, and forced other Hospital executives who objected to these practices into involuntary resignations.
After Dr. Craig was informed about an audit conducted by an outside firm that found United Medical Center had billed Medicare for the admission of patients who did not meet the inpatient admission criteria for short stays, he filed a formal complaint with the hospital.
Dr. Craig also complained to the hospital’s administrators that “he believed Veritas was pressuring physicians to engage in admissions practices that violated federal and District of Columbia law.”
The whistleblower complaint alleges that Veritas failed to investigate or address Dr. Craig’s concerns about inpatient admissions, fraudulent billing to Medicare and Medicaid, and other misconduct.
Dr. Craig claims he was fired 15 days after testifying about the hospital’s and Veritas’ violations and misconduct to the D.C. City Council. He seeks damages for whistleblower retaliation under the anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act, the District of Columbia False Claims Act, the District of Columbia Whistleblower Protection Act, and the common law of the District of Columbia.