According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, a group of orthopedic surgeons and Rush University Medical Center have been sued in a federal whistleblower lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the physicians and the medical center caused claims to be submitted to Medicare for surgeries performed by residents that failed to meet the Medicare teaching physician supervision rules. The Medicare teaching physician rules require that the teaching physician be present during the critical portions of the procedure and immediately available to furnish services during the entire service.
The "qui tam" or whistleblower provisions of the federal false claims act permit private citizens to file a civil suit against parties believed to have submitted false claims to the federal government. The federal government may then elect to intervene in the lawsuit if it believes the suit has merit. Importantly, according to the article, the federal government has declined to intervene in the Rush case.