Oh Davita. Between its overly-political CEO, Kent Thiry (Hickenlooper’s BFF) and the fact that Davita’s lobbyists are some of Mark Udall’s largest bundlers, we could only shake our heads when we heard that Davita settled its kickbacks case with the DOJ last night. Yeah, we’re not shocked either.
In April, we reported that two bundlers for Sen. Mark Udall are lobbyists with ties to Davita, a kidney dialysis company, which yesterday finalized its settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice for $389 million. Here’s what we said back then:
“In 2012, the company paid out $55 million dollars to settle a lawsuit that accused the company of overbilling Medicare for anemia medicine necessary for kidney dialysis patients. While the company acknowledged no wrongdoing in the settlement, the federal government was slated to receive 70 percent or $38.5 million of the settlement.
Then, this February, DaVita HealthCare Partners paid $389 million to settle a federal investigation involving criminal and civil “anti-kickback investigations and plans to end join ventures with kidney doctors involving 28 dialysis clinics”, according to The Denver Post.
Then, if you didn’t read the links we suggested above, it’s worth pointing out that Governor John Hickenlooper, Sen. Mark Udall, and DaVita CEO Kent Thiry all are represented by the same public affairs firm – the same one that ran the failed Amendment 66, the same one that represents the Connect for Health Colorado (Colorado’s Obamacare exchange).”
We would be remiss if we failed to point out that Davita has given $15,325 to Mainstream Colorado and $12,825 to Priorities for Colorado. These two organizations produce some of the most vile and untruthful political ads the state – no, the country – has ever seen. Priorities for Colorado was responsible for the absolutely disgusting mailers about murder victim Jessica Ridgeway.
So, we’d like be up in arms in principle about the huge fine resulting from DOJ nailing Davita, but the truth is that the meddling in Colorado politics by Davita, CEO Kent Thiry, and its lobbyists means this outrageous fine makes us feel just a little warm and fuzzy.