Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whistleblower

2010 Director’s Community Leadership Awards

Dr. Steven Bander knew he would lose his career and would have to pay upfront lawyer fees and costs when he became a whistle blower in April 2001. What he didn’t know was whether his case would prevail or how it would affect his family. But as the chief medical officer for Gambro Healthcare U.S., the world’s third-largest supplier of kidney dialysis services, he knew he had to do what was right.

In an agreement three-and-a-half years later, Gambro paid $350 million in civil and criminal penalties to settle claims it defrauded Medicare and Medicaid out of hundreds of millions of dollars. This agreement, made in December 2004, remains the largest fraud settlement in Missouri history and, at the time, was the sixth largest in the country.

Under the federal whistle-blower law, Dr. Bander received a $56 million share of the settlement. To this day, Dr. Bander lives in the same house. He has donated more than 20 percent of his money, after legal fees, to establish a charitable foundation that focuses on business ethics in health care.

Dr. Bander’s philanthropy includes donating to St. Louis University in 2006 to form The Bander Center for Medical Business Ethics. Dr. Bander has also donated to Washington University (St. Louis) to establish the Bander Business Ethics in Medical Research Funding Program.

Spin-offs from this case include a lawsuit against Renal Care Group, which was ordered to pay more than $19 million for similar allegations. The judge in the case is now considering whether to award the government additional damages and penalties.

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