PITTSBURGH (CN) – Executives at PrimeCare Medical staffed the company with “cronies,” a convicted felon and other unqualified employees who looked the other way as the prison health-care provider charged the government for services it never provided, a whistleblower claims in Federal Court.
Richard Smith says he was constructively fired as vice president of operations at PrimeCare, which provides health-care services to correctional institutions, for his vigilance in maintaining high ethical standards in the wake of a 1992 scandal that raised concerns about the adequacy of inmates’ medical care.
A prison riot in 1989 prompted the Department of Corrections to review the state’s prison services, including its medical services. Under heightened scrutiny, PrimeCare’s president, Carl Hoffman, added a back-dated entry to the record of a deceased inmate.
When Smith was promoted to vice president of operations in 1996, he says he tightened the reins to make sure the company never repeated the mistake.
But he claims Hoffman hired relatives and other people with minimal qualifications – including convicted felon John Kerr – who allowed the standards to lapse. He claims PrimeCare billed the government for contractually required positions it never filled and adopted “liberal interpretations” of its contracts in order to bill more for medical costs.
Smith, who allegedly opposed the practices all along, claims the defendants used the leave he took for gastric bypass surgery as a pretext to get rid of him.
The plaintiff is represented by Clark & Krevsky.