$21M settlement reached in Texas EMS agencies, hospital whistleblower suit

East Texas Medical Center, Paramedics Plus and Emergency Medical Services Authorities agreed to a settlement in a suit that alleged an illegal kickback scheme


By EMS1 Staff

TYLER, Texas — Two EMS agencies and a hospital agreed to a $21 million settlement in a whistleblower case.

Tyler Paper reported that the former East Texas Medical Center, Paramedics Plus and Emergency Medical Services Authority agreed to the settlement in a federal lawsuit that alleged the involved parties were part of an illegal kickback scheme.

According to the lawsuit, East Texas Medical Center and Paramedics Plus created a slush fund to pay $20 million in kickbacks, which came in the form of political contributions and cash payments to contractors.

Attorney Patrick O’Connell, who represents the original whistleblower, Dr. Stephen Dean, first brought the case forward in 2014.

“This was a case where Paramedics Plus, a provider of ambulance services, violated the anti-kickback statute by creating an unwritten profit cap agreement to ensure that Paramedics Plus obtained and retained the contract to provide ambulance services for (Emergency Medical Services Authority),” O’Connell said in a statement. “In addition, Paramedics Plus made political contributions to local Oklahoma politicians which (Emergency Medical Services Authority) could not do on its own. Without our client, the government would have been unaware that these inappropriate activities were ongoing.”

All defendants will pay a total of $21 million, according to the Department of Justice, and Dean will receive $4.9 million of those funds.

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