Texas Lawyers Blog


The Texas Lawyers Blog provides useful information on the law and Texas lawyers. For more information on this Blog or a legal topic, please feel free to submit an inquiry or send an e-mail message to blog@texaslawyers.com

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pradaxa Lawsuit Information: Excessive Bleeding From Pradaxa Has No Antidote and Can Cause Death by Texas Pradaxa Lawyer Jason Coomer

Pradaxa Lawsuit Information: The Blood Thinner Pradaxa Can Cause Excessive Bleeding and Has No Known Antidote or Reversal Agent Which Can Cause Death in Patients Taking the Blood Thinner by Texas Pradaxa Lawyer Jason Coomer

Pradaxa has been marketed as a new and improved blood thinner to replace existing successful blood thinners.  Pradaxa has the usual side effects and health risks of other blood thinners which includes excessive bleeding.  However, unlike older blood thinners, Pradaxa has two important differences: 

  • Pradaxa has no known reversal agent or antidote, and
  • There is no standard method with which to measure the anticoagulant effects of Pradaxa.

These key differences can cause persons on Pradaxa to experience a build up or overdose of the drug, excessive bleeding, and ultimately the person's death.  For more information on this topic, please feel free to send an e-mail message to Pradaxa Lawyer, Jason Coomer.

Pradaxa Has Been Marketed As A New And Improved Blood Thinner That Has Been Added To Numerous Hospital Formularies As An Established Blood Thinner Allowing Pradaxa To Rapidly Gain Market Share and Expanding Its Use

Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) is a direct thrombin inhibitor anticoagulant, which became FDA-approved on October 29, 2010. Pradaxa reduces the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. Pradaxa is being marketed to be prescribed and used to replace existing successful blood thinners such as Warfarin (Coumadin).  Within the first seven months after Pradaxa's approval, more than 250,000 patients were prescribed Pradaxa.  In July 2011, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) announced that Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) capsules had been added to hospital formularies at 49 of the top 50 cardiology and heart surgery hospitals in the United States.  In other words Pradaxa was added as the blood thinner of choice in formularies that insure about 90 percent of covered lives in the U.S.

Boehringer Ingelheim has successfully marketed Pradaxa as an improvement over other blood thinners.  However, Pradaxa has already led to hundreds of reports of deaths and many other serious life-threatening injuries.

Large Drug Companies That Influence Standards of Care Including Hospital Formularies Through Marketing Fraud and Fraudulent Research Can Be Held Liable For Medicaid Fraud and Medicare Fraud Through Whistleblower Reward Lawsuits

Many health care professions have become aware of the strong influence that drug companies now have in determining community standards of care for medication use in patients.  These drug companies often push drug samples into many hospitals and use powerful forms of manipulation including biased research, influencing key medical doctors, and kickbacks to get their drugs placed on hospital formularies.

Whistleblowers that are the first to file on these fraudulent practices can expose fraud and obtain large whistleblower rewards for exposing fraud. These medical professionals and pharmaceutical professionals can also have a drug formulary fraud whistleblower reward lawyer confidentially review a potential case prior to stepping forward.  For more information on Drug Formulary Fraud Whistleblower Reward Lawsuits, please feel free to go to the following web page: Drug Formulary Fraud Whistleblower Reward Lawsuit.

Pradaxa Lawsuit Information: The Blood Thinner Pradaxa Can Cause Excessive Bleeding and Has No Known Antidote or Reversal Agent Which Can Cause Death in Patients Taking the Blood Thinner
For more information on this topic, please feel free to go to the following web page: Pradaxa Lawsuit Information or please feel free to send an e-mail message to Pradaxa Lawyer, Jason Coomer.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pharmaceutical Company Fraud: Government and Whistleblowers Seek Billions by Texas Pharmaceutical Fraud Whistleblower Lawyer

Pharmaceutical Company Fraud: Government and Whistle-blowers Have Obtained Over $30 Billion From Large Drug Companies And These Numbers Will Increase As Drug Companies Commit Fraud To Obtain Their Share of the Over $800 Billion Drug Industry Annual Revenues by Pharmaceutical Company Fraud Whistleblower Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

State and Federal governments are cracking down are large pharmaceutical companies that commit fraud and violate the law to obtain large drug procurement contracts.  Under the Federal False Claim Act and State Medicaid Fraud Recovery laws, pharmaceutical companies have been forced to pay over $30 Billion in civil and criminal penalties.  This money has been paid to federal and state governments and whistleblowers.  The penalties are drug companies that have committed illegal and fraudulent activities including fraudulent off label drug marketing practices, fraudulent drug marketing, illegal drug kickbacks, and price fixing. 

Billion dollar fines may seem like a large amount of money to pay in fines that would prevent future illegal actions, however, some drug companies are repeat offenders and plan to continue their fraudulent activities because of the large profits that they can make by violating the law.  Some of these companies have determined that the these fines are the price of doing business. The pharmaceutical industry has total annual revenues of over $800 Billion and this global is increasing as the drug industry continue to expand.  Further, with profits for some drugs of over $100 Billion, it can often be worth it for a pharmaceutical company to commit fraud and violate the law to obtain dominance in a market and obtain large public section contracts that translate into large profits.

Government Fines and Whistle-blower Rewards Will Continue to Increase As State and Federal Governments Seek To Reduce Fraud and The Cost of Medical Care

With several repeat offenders and the need to reduce huge public sector medical costs, several governments will continue to raise the fines as well as increase rewards to those that report large scale pharmaceutical company fraud.  Texas currently leads all states in settlements made possible by private-sector whistle-blowers, but the Federal government and numerous other states have also determined the cracking down on pharmaceutical fraud, Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, and other forms of health care fraud are important and a politically viable method of reducing public health care costs.

Pharmaceutical marketing representatives and pharmaceutical professionals that are aware of fraudulent off label drug marketing practices, fraudulent drug marketing, illegal drug kickbacks, or price fixing are encouraged to be the first to expose pharmaceutical company fraud.  By the first to file on pharmaceutical company fraud, a whistle-blower can become eligible for a large financial recovery and can avoid potential liability for failing to expose a know crime.

If you are aware of a pharmaceutical company that is committing pharmaceutical company fraud and would like to confidentially have your potential case reviewed, please feel free to contact Pharmaceutical Company Fraud Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Coomer via e-mail message or please feel free to go to the following web pages on this topic: Whistle-blower Reward Lawsuits, Health Care Fraud Whistle-blower Lawsuits, Pharmaceutical Marketing Fraud Lawsuits, and Hospital Formulary Drug Fraud Lawsuits & Off Label Marketing Fraud Lawsuits

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Armstrong Fraud Whistleblower Case: Will US Department of Justice Join This Lawsuit? by Whistleblower Recovery Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

Armstrong Fraud Whistleblower Case: The United States Attorney General Is Currently Deciding Whether to Join The Fraud Whistleblower Reward Lawsuit That Has Been Filed Against Lance Armstrong by Whistleblower Recovery Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

Under Federal law, whistleblower recoveries can come through four different whistleblower recovery laws.  The Federal False Claims Act is the oldest of the laws and under this law the Federal Government has brought in approximately $30 Billion.  Under this law successful whistleblowers have been awarded over $3 Billion.  Through this law people that are aware of substantial fraud against the United States are encouraged to expose the fraud and in some cases can receive rewards for exposing fraud.  These whistleblower recovery lawsuits are the most effective method for identifying and preventing large scale fraud against the government, in financial markets, and in large corporations.

In applying whistleblower recovery laws to the Lance Armstrong situation, a qui tam lawsuit was filed in 2010 alleging that the U.S. Postal Service Team defrauded the Postal Service by taking sponsorship money while doping.  Under the Federal False Claims Act, the Attorney General has the option to join the claim or allow the whistleblower to proceed with the case without the United States joining the case.

For more on Whistleblower Recovery Laws, please feel free to go to the following web page: Whistleblower Recovery Laws, and/or read the article cited below:

Attorney General Eric Holder will decide whether to join whistleblower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong - NY Daily News

"Landis filed the whistleblower suit, also known as a “qui tam” suit, against the U.S. Postal Service Team under the False Claims Act, which allows “whistleblowers” to file suit on behalf of the federal government, in 2010. Landis claims the team defrauded the Postal Service by taking sponsorship money — up to $30 million — from the government-funded agency while cyclists were doping. The government could seek as much as $90 million, which would be triple the damages."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Freeing Texas Inherited Real Estate Through Probate by Austin Texas Inherited Real Estate Lawyer Jason Coomer

Many Situations Can Cause Texas Inherited Real Property To Become Stuck After The Death of a Family Member: Failure To Free Inherited Real Estate Can Result In The Loss Of Family Inheritance by Austin Texas Inherited Real Estate Lawyer Jason Coomer

After a family member dies, their real property can often become stuck in the inheritance process and if proper action is not taken it can be lost to foreclosure.  This is especially common when the person dies without a Will and leaves no instructions as to what they want done with their possessions after they die.  In this situation, Texas real property will need to be transferred under Texas intestate law.  As such, it is important to understand what Texas intestate law says on how the estate should be divided and how title to the real estate can be transferred.

In addition to the issue of intestate succession, there are also a number of other common situations that can cause inherited real property to become stuck.  A few of these situations are discussed in this blog post.  The first situation occurs when the family is unable to move forward with the probate process because of lack of resources.  The second situation occurs when the family is unable to move forward with probate because of proximity issues.  In other words, the heirs do not live in Texas or close to where their loved one died.  In still other situations families can start fighting over their loved one's estate.  In all these situations, real estate can become stuck for years or can even be lost.

Freeing Texas Real Property From Probate Usually Requires The Services of One or More Texas Probate Real Estate Lawyers

Depending on the reason that has caused the Texas inherited property to become stuck in the probate process, the solution may be hiring a Texas probate real estate lawyer.  In the situation where the family cannot afford the probate process, a Texas probate real estate lawyer can sometimes work out a contingent contract or a hybrid contract where the lawyer will work to free the real property so it can be sold or mortgaged allowing the heirs, beneficiaries, court costs, attorney's fees, and other expenses to be paid out of the sales proceeds of the real property or a loan on the property.  In these situations, families can often prevent losing inherited property through foreclosure or taxes.

In the situation where the family lives outside of the State of Texas, a Texas probate real estate attorney can often be appointed the local agent for the administrator or executive and help with many of the tasks that need to be handled in administering the estate.  This can greatly limit the need for the family to make numerous trips to Texas or the county where their loved one died and allow a busy family member to handle probate issues without a significant drain on their time.

In situations where the heirs and beneficiaries start fighting, it is often necessary for multiple Texas probate real estate lawyers to become involved.  In these situations, it is typically best for each side to have their own legal counsel to advise them as to their rights under Texas law and if necessary to have legal counsel that can advocate for their rights.  These contested probate lawsuits can be expensive, but can be necessary when someone is attempting to steal family inheritance or the family needs experienced legal help to settle a disputed probate matter and prevent the loss of inherited real estate in Austin or Texas. 

Texas Probate Real Estate Lawyer Clears Title To Probate Property and Handles Probate Issues

As an Austin Texas Probate Real Estate Lawyer, Jason Coomer, handles Texas probate, estate, and inheritance matters.  He works with families including Texas families and out of state families on a variety of Texas probate, estate, and inheritance issues.  These issues commonly include probating Wills, contesting Wills, fighting will contests, clearing title to estate property, claiming estate property, filing suits to determine rightful heirs of estates, filing breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits, and representing estate administrators.  For questions on Texas probate, estate, and inheritance matters, please feel free to send an e-mail message to Austin Texas Probate Lawyer and Austin Texas Inheritance Lawyer Jason S. Coomer or please feel free to use our contact form.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lehman 100 Percent Principal Protected Note Investment Fraud Lawsuits by Texas Investment Fraud Lawyer and FINRA Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

Lehman Brothers 100 Percent Principal Protected Note Investment Fraud Lawsuits by Texas Investment Fraud Lawyer and FINRA Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

In September 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed causing investors to lose retirement funds, savings, and large amounts of money.  Many of these investors had invested in Lehman 100 Percent Principal Protected Notes.  Over $1 Billion of these notes were sold to investors.  The 100 Percent Principal Protected Notes were marketed as a conservative investment that was “risk free” and perfect for retirement accounts. However, these notes were actually unsecured obligations subject to the credit risk of Lehman Brothers, and their value was wiped out when Lehman Brothers collapsed and filed for bankruptcy.

Investors that were sold these 100 Percent Principal Protected Notes may have a viable cause of action against UBS or other brokers that improperly marketed and sold these notes.  Time is limited to file these investment fraud cases and investors that are interested in seeking compensation for significant losses from the 100 Percent Principal Protected Notes should contact an investment fraud lawyer.

FINRA Arbitration Claims

FINRA arbitration typically allows investors that have lost substantial amounts of money from broker fraud or misrepresentations to seek compensation through arbitration.  Claims for FINRA arbitration should be filed within six years of the wrongful actions by the broker.  For more information regarding a FINRA arbitration, please feel free to go to the following web page:


Lehman Brothers Was The Fourth-Largest U.S. Investment Bank At The Time of Its Collapse and The Largest Bankruptcy In History
On September 15, 2008 in the midst of the sub-prime melt down, Lehman Brothers one of the largest U.S. investment banks was forced to file for bankruptcy. At the time of filing for bankruptcy, the investment bank had $639 billion in assets and $619 billion in debt and the bankruptcy filing was the largest in history.  Since Lehman's bankruptcy filing, the Lehman lesson has been that large investment banks and large corporations need to keep substantial liquid assets and cash reserves in order to make sure that they can pay their debt obligations.  Additionally, it helps to have significant investment diversity and political clout like AIG to ensure a government bailout.

Lehman Brothers was the largest victim, of the U.S. subprime mortgage-induced financial crisis that swept through global financial markets in 2008. Lehman's collapse was a seminal event that greatly intensified the 2008 crisis and contributed to the erosion of close to $10 trillion in market capitalization from global equity markets in October 2008, the biggest monthly decline on record at the time.

Lehman Note Investors Can Seek Compensation for Their Loses From Brokers That Failed To Properly Disclose Risk and Improperly Marketed These Notes

UBS, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, and other brokers that improperly marketed and sold Lehman 100 Percent Principal Protected Notes may be forced to pay compensation for failing to properly disclose the risks of these investments.

If you have lost your life savings, retirement fund, or a large amount of money through an investment fraud scheme, misappropriation of funds by a broker or investment firm, misrepresentations, improper disclosures, broker negligence, careless investment advice, deceptive investment advice, inadequate risk warnings, churning, or other unethical or unlawful investment acts, please feel free to send an e-mail to Texas Investment Fraud Lawyer Jason CoomerFor more information on investment fraud lawsuits and FINRA arbitrations, please go to the following web page: Texas Investment Fraud Lawyer and Texas Broker Fraud Lawyer.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Scrooge In The Real World: Issues of Capacity, Testamentary Intent, and Probate Contests by Texas Guardianship Lawyer and Texas Inheritance Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

Scrooge In The Real World: Tales of The Spirit of Giving, Testamentary Intent, Capacity, Guardianships, and Gift Aftermath by Austin Texas Guardianship Lawyer and Texas Inheritance Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

Almost everyone is familiar with the Charles Dickens' classic, "A Christmas Carol" and the story of Ebenezer Scrooge.  In the story, Ebenezer Scrooge claims to have been visited by three ghosts and because of the ghostly visits changes his miserly tendencies through the spirit of Christmas to give away large amounts of money and assets.  These gifts are given to several people around him including Bob Cratchit whose family greatly benefits from this change of heart and change of character.

In the real world, stories of large gifts and testamentary bequests prompted by ghostly visits and fear often create issues of capacity, guardianships, testamentary intent, undue influence, fraud, and will contests.  In my probate and guardianship practice, I hear many stories of an elderly person's sudden change of heart and change of spending/gifting/bequesting tendencies.  More often than not, many of these stories begin with declining memory of an elderly person and the entrance of a caretaker, financial adviser, employee, friend, long lost relative, or new spouse into the person's life.   

What happens in the real world when the spirit of gifting allegedly takes over a person and they give large gifts to an employee, a caretaker, or strangers?  What happens after the gifts are given and the person no longer has money or assets?

Scrooge in Real Life: Proving the Gift or Bequest Was Not From Undue Influence or Incapacity

In the real world, the story of Scrooge and his sudden change of heart may be looked at a bit differently than in the Dicken's story.  This is especially true if large gifts are given to strangers, caretakers, or new people in the person's life.  In these situations, the large gifts and changes in testamentary disposition prompted by ghostly visits may be perceived very differently from the perspective of the person's spouse, children, heirs, and the court.   

If a person that has saved money and assets most of their life, suddenly believes they are speaking with and interacting with ghosts and then because of this belief they give away large gifts, many issues may be raised including: 1) When should someone step in to determine if this person has the capacity and/or the testamentary intent to give away a large portion of their money and assets?  2) Does the giver understand the consequences of their actions?  3) Is this gift or bequest the result of undue influence, fraud, or incapacity?  4) When should the gift be allowed to be completed and when should it not?

 Texas Undue Influence Contests and Fraud Lawsuits Are on The Rise

Under Texas law a growing number of "gifts" and testamentary bequests are being questioned and contested including many gifts and bequests to employees, caretakers, strangers, and some relatives.  In determining if the gift or bequest can be successfully contested, the court is going to look to see if the person had capacity to give the gift or testamentary intent to make a bequest, and if the person was under undue influence when making the gift or bequest.  These determinations are fact issues that will be case specific and be dependent on numerous factors including the nature of the gifts; the giver's understanding of the gift/bequest and their relationship to the recipient; whether there has been any fraud or duress in the inducement in obtaining the gift/bequest; and if the gift was the result of drugs, alcohol, dementia, or a psychotic break.

In the real world, the explanation of being visited by three ghosts would probably merit a psychological evaluation by a medical doctor.  It may also be the basis of a claim for fraud, duress and undue influence from the person's heirs and beneficiaries. 

Also, it should be kept in mind that in many situations where the giver is elderly and may be developing memory problems, it is common for the person to later forget about the gift or bequest.  As such, in some situations it may be a good idea to properly document the gift or bequest to ensure that it can be proven that the gift or bequest was not the result of incapacity or undue influence.  This can often be tricky as there may be disgruntled heirs that will later contest the gift or bequest regardless of the situation and the person receiving the gift may not be in the position to insist on proper documentation. However, consulting a lawyer regarding a large gift or bequest is typically a good idea.  In these situations, the lawyer will typically want to meet alone with the person giving the gift or bequest to ensure that the person has capacity and is not under undue influence.

Scrooge The Day After,  A Year After, and 5 Years After

In the story of Scrooge, we stop when he is still rich and in the process of giving.  However, what happens the day after, year after, or five years after the spirit of generosity has taken over?  For a lucky few they have so much money and wealth that it doesn't matter.  They can give away hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars and still not see a change in their lives.  However, for the majority people a year or two of giving can deplete their life savings.  

What happens to these people?  What if they have giver's remorse?  What if they need their wealth back for medical or nursing home care?

For some under, it might seem like a good idea to give away large gifts, especially, to avoid potential estate taxes or to be able to qualify for future Medicaid benefits and avoid having a nursing home drain all of a family's assets.  However, these issues must be considered carefully before anyone gives away their wealth and assets.  Being without sufficient assets in case of a serious medical problem can create serious problems for someone that has made large gifts in the last 5 years. Under the Medicaid look back period, there is a 5 year look back period to qualify.  If a person like Scrooge decides to give away their assets and then in a year or two requires nursing home or other health care benefits, they may regret the gifts.  In most of these situations where the person made large gifts and now cannot afford medical care and nursing home care, the person cannot qualify for Medicaid benefits until these "gifts" are paid back.  This creates a problem for the person that gave the gift and sometimes for the person that received the gift.  Trust, loyalty, and communication are keys in these situations.

Likewise, what happens when the person is attempting to take advantage of gifts to avoid estate taxes.  In these situations, the person gifting their assets will need to give up control of their assets to take advantage of the gift tax.  Whether through out and out gifts or irrevocable trusts, it is important for the person intending to give large gifts to understand once they give the gift it is gone.  They cannot take back the gift if circumstances change.

In most situations, it is important for the giver to understand the consequences of the gifts that they are giving especially if these assets may be needed in the future.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Federal Contractor Fraud: Federal Contractor Fraud Whistleblowers Can Recover Large Rewards For Properly Exposing Federal Contractor Fraud by Texas Federal Contractor Fraud Lawyer Jason Coomer

Federal Contractor Fraud Whistleblower Rewards Under The Federal False Claims Act: The Federal False Claims Act and Department of Justices Are Offering Large Financial Rewards To Federal Contractor Fraud Whistleblowers That Are The First To Properly Expose Federal Contractor Fraud and Federal Grant Fraud by Texas Federal Contractor Fraud Lawyer and Federal Contractor Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Coomer

The Department of Justice through the Federal False Claims Act is offering federal contractor fraud whistleblowers large rewards for being the first to properly report large federal contractor fraud, federal grant fraud, and other fraud committed against the federal government.  These rewards have resulted in Billions of dollars in recoveries for the United States and hundreds of millions of dollars in recoveries for whistleblowers.  New expansions of the Federal False Claims Act are expected to expose additional fraud and create even larger recoveries in the future.

Federal Government Spending, Federal Government Contracting, and Federal Government Contractor Information

Federal Government spending has increased dramatically over the last 10 years including large increases in health care spending and defense contractor spending as well as large bailouts of the financial sector.  With this increased Federal Government spending has come a large increase in the number of government contractors and fraudulent government contractors that submit fraudulent documents and false certifications of products and services.
To help keep track of increased government spending and government contractors, the Office of Management and Budget has created OMB Watch which "exists to increase government transparency and accountability; to ensure sound, equitable regulatory and budgetary processes and policies; and to protect and promote active citizen participation in our democracy."  OMB Watch envisions "a more just and democratic society, one in which an open, responsive government protects people's health, safety, and well-being, safeguards the environment, honors the public's right to information, values an engaged and effective citizenry, and adequately invests in the common good."   For more information on OMB Watch and Federal government spending, please go to the following web site: Fedspending.org

Government Contracting, Acquisitions, and Regulations

Federal Government Contracting can be extremely complicated, but lucrative.   Civil False Claims Act creates financial incentives for private citizens that have knowledge of government contractor fraud to blow the whistle on these fraudulent contractors. Whistleblowers under the act not only receive protection from the government for their A key provision of the act was known as qui tam.
WIFCON.com serves "the federal acquisition community by providing quick access to acquisition information such as contracting laws and pending legislation, current and proposed regulations, guidance, courts and boards of contract appeals, bid protest decisions, contracting newsletters, and selected analysis of federal acquisition issues."  For more information on Federal Government Contracting, please go to the following web site, WIFCON.com.- Where in Federal Contracting?

Federal Business Opportunities is also an excellent web site for information on Federal Government Contractors and Contracting.  For more information on Federal Government Contracting, please go to the following web site, Federal Business Opportunities.

Blowing the Whistle on Those that Commit Fraud Against the United States Government, First to File Provisions of the Federal False Claims Act, and Preserving Relator Rights to Share in Recovery of Funds

If you are aware of a defense contractor, highway contractor, large health care company, FEMA contractor, HUD contractor, or other large contractor or subcontractor that is defrauding the United States Government out of millions or billions of dollars, it is important to blow the whistle on the government contractor fraud.  By reporting the fraud you can save the government and taxpayers large amounts of money. 

Further, if you are the first to file and blow the whistle correctly pursuant to the Federal False Claims Act, you may be able to share in the recovery.  As such, to become a relator it is important to collect evidence of the fraud and work with experienced attorneys to make sure that every effort is made to protect your rights as a relator, qui tam plaintiff, and government contractor fraud whistleblower, so that you can share in the recover that is made from your heroic efforts.

For more information on Federal Contractor Fraud Whistleblower Lawsuits, please feel free to contact Texas Federal Contractor Fraud Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Coomer.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Medicare Fraud Whistleblowers: Probate Lawyers and Executors Are Seeing More Medicare Fraud That Can Be The Basis of Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Reward Lawsuits by Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

Medicare Fraud Whistleblowers: Probate Lawyers and Executors Are Seeing More Systematic Medicare Fraud By Nursing Homes, Home Health Care Providers, and other Health Care Providers That Can Be The Basis of Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Reward Lawsuits by Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

Health care costs in the United States are over $2.3 Trillion each year and are continuing to rise.  Included in these costs are a significant amount of Medicare fraud including nursing home Medicare fraud, home health care fraud, assisted living facility Medicare fraud, and other fraud directed at seniors.  Some estimates suggest that health care fraud including Nursing home Medicare fraud is about 10% of the cost of health care.  These numbers are expected to rise as more people become eligible for Medicare and more people move to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Because of the growing number of Medicare eligible recipients, more and more people will pay for their health care including nursing homes, hospice, home health care, physical therapy, pharmacies, and medical equipment through Medicare.  The nursing homes and associated health care providers that accept Medicare payments too often find that it is more profitable to use fraudulent billing practices to increase their income from Medicare.  These nursing homes and elder care providers sometimes begin to use systematic Medicare Fraud including upcoding, manipulation of outlier payments to Medicare, illegal kickbacks, charging for unnecessary services, double billing for services, and falsely certifying goods or services that were not provided are all forms of Medicare fraud that cost United States taxpayers billions of dollars each year. 

These forms of Medicare fraud can often be difficult to detect and often require the family of a senior or the administrator of the person's estate to detect the fraud.  In these situations, it is important to determine if there is significant billing fraud taking place and if it may be systematic.  If this is the case, it can often be beneficial to work with a Medicare fraud whistleblower lawyer to determine the extent of the fraud and help build a whistleblower reward lawsuit that can expose the fraud as well as potentially result in a large financial recovery.
Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Medicare Billing, Elder Care Billing, Nursing Home Revenue, and the Prospective Payment System (PPS)

Most nursing home and elder care costs are paid through Medicare, Medicaid, and government programs.  To be able to collect Medicare, Skilled Nursing Facilities have to use the Prospective Payment System and follow government regulations.  Under these regulations, Medicare will pay some nursing home costs for Medicare beneficiaries who require skilled nursing or rehabilitation services. To be covered, the person must receive the services from a Medicare certified skilled nursing home after a qualifying hospital stay. A qualifying hospital stay is the amount of time spent in a hospital just prior to entering a nursing home.  Unfortunately, some Skilled Nursing Facilities are violating the qualified hospital stay requirement.

In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress mandated that payment for the majority of services provided to beneficiaries in a Medicare covered skilled nursing facilities SNF stay be included in a bundled prospective payment made through the fiscal intermediary (FI)/A/B Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) to the skilled nursing facilities SNF. These bundled services have to be billed by the skilled nursing facility to the FI/A/B MAC in a consolidated bill.  This Consolidated Billing in nursing homes was implemented in 1998 and required all skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and nursing facilities (NFs) to file consolidated billing for Medicare.

Under Consolidated Billing the facility must submit all Medicare claims for the Part B services and supplies that all its Medicare residents receive, except for certain services specifically excluded. Medicare pays the facility, and the facility then reimburses any external providers or suppliers according to contractual arrangements.

By checking Medicare Summary Notice (MSN), a Medicare recipient, guardian, or estate administrator may discover systematic Medicare fraud that can result in a large Medicare fraud whistleblower recovery for the government and for the persons that report the systematic Medicare fraud.  Medicare fraud whistleblowers that are able 1) to obtain original and specialized information of significant fraud and 2) are the first to file regarding the specific Medicare fraud can save taxpayers millions of dollars and recover a large reward for reporting the fraud. 

For more information on properly reporting a large health care provider that is committing systematic Medicare fraud including double billing, phantom billing, illegal kickbacks, upcoding, bill padding or other types of Medicare Fraud, please feel free to contact Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Coomer.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Texas Meningitis Outbreak: FDA Warns Texas Health Care Providers Regarding NECC Contaminated Drugs By Texas Meningitis Lawyer Jason Coomer

Texas Meningitis Outbreak: Texas Medical Providers Ordered By FDA To Retain, Secure, and Withhold Potentially Contaminated Drugs That May Cause Meningitis By Texas Meningitis Contaminated Drug Lawyer Jason Coomer

The New England Compounding Center (NECC) meningitis contaminated drug outbreak that has claimed over 25 lives and has made hundreds of people sick may include several Texas medical providers that have been ordered by the FDA to retain, secure, and withhold any NECC drugs that may be contaminated and that the Texas health care providers may still have in their possession.

The following Texas medical providers that have ordered or used NECC drugs include: Medical City Dallas Hospital, Abilene Regional Medical Center, Alamo Heights Surgicare, Austin Medical Center, Cedar Park Regional Medical Center, Children's Medical Center Dallas, College Station Medical Center, Corpus Christi Medical Center-Bay Area, Corpus Chisti Medical Center-Doctor Reg, Corpus Christi Outpatient Surgery, Cosmetic and Maxillofacial Surg. Center, Convenant Medical Center-Lakeside, Dallas Plastic Surgery, Dallas Back Pain Management, Dell Children's Medical Center, Driscoll Children's Hospital, East Texas Orthopaedics, El Paso Specialty Hospital, Harlingen Medical Center, Harris Methodist Southlake Center, Hendrick Medical Center, KSF Methodist WB, KSF Orthopedic Center P.A., Lake Pointe Medical Center, Longview Regional Medical Center, Mansfield Surgery Center, Methodist Charlton Medical Center-Cardio, Metroplex Hospital, Michael E. Debakey V.A. Medical Center, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Scott & White Memorial Hospital, Shannon Medical Center, Texas Midwest Surgery Center, Texas Orthopedic Hospital, The Baylor School of Medicine Ambulatory Surgery Center, University Medical Center, Valley Regional Medical Center-Cardio, Weatherford Regional Medical Center, and Williamson Surgery Center. 

There are several other health care providers in Texas and throughout the United States that have ordered or used these potentially contaminated drugs.  For a complete list of medical providers, please go to the following lists of health care providers that have ordered NECC drugs: FDA List of Health Care Providers.

It is not clear yet as to how many people and their families will be impacted by this contaminated drug meningitis outbreak, but it is important for people that have received potentially contaminated drugs and that are showing symptoms of meningitis to immediately contact a medical professional to determine if they have meningitis.  If the they are infected with meningitis, it is important to obtain medical assistance and report the contaminated drug.  For more information on the contaminated drugs, meningitis, and FDA actions, please feel free to go to the following web pages: Texas Meningitis Lawsuits and Contaminated Drug Meningitis Lawsuits.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Federal Estate Tax and Protecting Family Wealth by Texas Family Wealth Protection Lawyer:

Protecting Family Wealth From The Government Requires Giving Up Control of Wealth By Texas Family Wealth Protection Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

The current Federal Estate Tax will expire on December 31, 2012 and the exemption could reset to $1 million and a 55% maximum tax rate on non-exempt assets.  Many families are facing difficult decisions as to if they should transfer large amounts of wealth to the next generation through gifts and into irrevocable trusts to avoid the federal estate tax or hope the federal estate tax laws will be revised again to extend large federal tax exemptions. 

Major Estate Tax Change Looming - Don't Be A Last Minute Louie - Forbes

"The case for making a large gift in 2012 to use up the unified credit against gift and estate taxes is compelling for people who can afford it.  Right now, taxable gifts totaling $5,120,000 can be made in a lifetime without incurring liability."

The Medicaid 60 Month Transfer Rule
Many families will also face the decision as to whether to transfer assets to allow loved ones to qualify for Medicaid and avoid large medical expenses and large Medicaid liens.  The person seeking to qualify for Medicaid benefits to help pay for nursing home care and other medical benefits will need to transfer their property at least 60 months before qualifying for Medicaid.

This 60 month look back period forces families to make difficult decisions well before a situation arises.  On a personal note the person transferring their assets has to be sure they know what they are doing and greatly trust those that to whom they are transferring their assets.

How Do I Protect My Assets From The Government Under Current Law?

Under current federal law, it is necessary for the person transferring their assets to give up control of their assets in order to take advantage of the current federal exemptions or to qualify for Medicaid benefits.  For a person to give up control of their assets, the assets need to be transferred through gift, death, or irrevocable trust. 

In all of these options the person transferring their assets will have to give up control of their assets and cannot take back their assets if their situation changes.  Giving up control in assets is difficult for many people as transferring their assets will make them dependent on others and place them in a vulnerable position.  For some people and their families, it is worth the risk to protect assets from the government.  For other people and their families, the risk of losing control of their wealth and relying on those that they transferred their wealth to is not worth the risk.  They would prefer to control their wealth to the very end and risk losing a large portion to the government, medical bills, or opportunists.

The Lucky Few:  Five Families Save $8.75 Billion in 2010 

In 2010, the federal estate tax exemption was unlimited and five billionaires died without paying any federal estate taxes.   The savings from federal estate tax to these families was approximately $8.75 billion.  These billionaires were George Steinbrenner, Walter Shorenstein, Dan Duncan, Mary Cargill and John Kluge. In this election year there are some calls to repeal the death tax and extend the unlimited federal exemption.  It is expected that if the Republicans win the presidency and congress that the unlimited federal exemption will be extended.  Additionally, if the Democrats win it is expected that a federal exemption of around $5 million per person or $10 million per married couple will be extended.  However, please keep in mind with significant government budget issues, it is not clear if either party will be able to allow unlimited or large exemptions to continue in the future.

Further, the Medicaid qualification 60 month rule is expected to stay in place.  This rule will impact many families and will place many families in difficult planning situations.  In fact, with the need to reduce Medicaid benefits by government, it is expected that new rules to limit Medicaid qualifications will be put in place in the future placing families with assets of $100,000.00 to $2,000,000.00 in difficult estate planning situations.