A repeat whistleblower has secured three settlements, with payouts totaling more than $6 million for herself, from three different health systems that employed her for short periods of time.
Cecilia Guardiola stands to gain about $3.3 million from Banner Health for settling a whistleblower lawsuit she filed in 2013 over the Phoenix-based nonprofit's billing practices.
This marks the third time Guardiola has used False Claims Act litigation to pressure a health system into changing its practices and paying millions in settlement money, according to federal court records reviewed by HealthLeaders Media.
The three known payouts were agreed upon in 2012, 2016, and 2018, as outlined below:
2012: Christus Spohn (Texas)
Guardiola worked about 16 months as director of case management for nonprofit Christus Spohn Health System in Texas, according to court records. She resigned in 2007 and filed a lawsuit in 2008. It was settled in 2012.
Christus agreed to pay the federal government more than $5.1 million, according to the settlement agreement. The terms called for Guardiola to receive more than $1 million of that amount.
Christus also agreed to pay more than $145,000 to cover Guardiola's legal fees.
2016: Renown Health (Nevada)
Guardiola worked about 19 months as director of clinical documentation then director of clinical compliance for Renown Health in Nevada, according to court records. She resigned in January 2012 and filed a lawsuit within five months. It was settled in 2016.
Renown agreed to pay the federal government $9.5 million, according to the settlement agreement. The terms called for Guardiola to receive $1.7 million, as the Associated Press reported.
The litigation was still active as of early 2018.
2018: Banner Health (Arizona)
Guardiola worked less than three months as corporate director of clinical documentation for Banner Health in Arizona, according to court records. She resigned in December 2012 and filed a lawsuit in 2013. It was settled this week.
Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.