Eight months before Tampa health management technology firm CareSync closed abruptly, an Alabama physician filed a whistleblower complaint, alleging the company defrauded Medicare.
The complaint, filed in October 2017 by Dr. Boyde Harrison, was filed under seal, but became public recently after federal prosecutors decided not to intervene and Harrison voluntarily dropped his lawsuit.
The public release of the suit adds another chapter to the story of CareSync, at one time a promising and fast-growing company that had raised as much as $50 million to develop its technology platform. When it closed in June 2018, 292 workers lost their jobs, including 167 people at the Tampa headquarters.
Related story: Tampa Bay Tech community pulls together as CareSync closes
It’s not clear if the lawsuit, which was under seal when CareSync shut down, played any role in the company’s closure. In a June 2018 notice to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, CareSync said it had to shut down after a potential purchaser backed out of a deal to buy the company, leaving CareSync without enough money to continue operations.
CareSync was established to help physician offices maintain Medicare requirements for chronic care management, by collecting, organizing and storing patient health information in a comprehensive database.
While that database was supposed to help doctors manage care for their patients, that was not Harrison’s experience after he signed a chronic care management services agreement with CareSync in December 2015, according to the lawsuit.
CareSync workers were supposed to touch base monthly with Harrison’s chronic care patients.
Harrison first noticed problems in May 2017, when CareSync reported in the database that one of its workers had logged time consulting with a patient who had died three months earlier. Harrison’s staff examined other records and found several instances when CareSync submitted similar inaccurate information, the lawsuit said. That left patients without care for months, and led to submitting false claims to Medicare, the lawsuit said.
Because CareSync had physician clients all over the United States, Harrison said in his lawsuit that he believed the fraudulent conduct he experienced was repeated all over the country.
Federal prosecutors decided last month not to intervene in the case. Amy Filjones, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa, declined to explain why the office didn’t want to intervene, according to BayLawsuits, a news service that focuses on civil cases in local courts.
Filjones also said the decision not to intervene was not a statement about the merits of the case.
In January 2019 — six months after CareSync closed — Vatica Health in Nashville, Tennessee said it bought CareSync’s technology. As part of the transaction, a number of former CareSync employees joined Vatica, a news release said.