Patrick J. O’Connell
Patrick J. O’Connell
Email: pat at pjofca.com
Before forming Law Offices of Patrick J. O’Connell PLLC, Patrick O’Connell was the founder and head of the Qui Tam/False Claims Act Section for a large national plaintiffs’ firm, and from 1999 – 2007, Pat was the first Chief of the Texas Attorney General’s Civil Medicaid Fraud Section. He is well known nationally for his work leading that Section to recover, on behalf of taxpayers, hundreds of millions of dollars stolen from Medicaid by hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical manufacturers and others.
Pat served as co-lead counsel for two whistleblowers whose lawsuits resulted in the recovery by the government of $98,150,000 from Community Health Systems, Inc. and related entities (CHS), in August 2014. CHS was sued for routinely admitting Medicare patients who presented at their hospitals’ emergency rooms with conditions that did not require admissions so that it could bill Medicare at higher inpatient rates, rather than less expensive outpatient rates, as well as two other schemes intended to improve its profitability to the government’s detriment, and without regard to medical necessity or patient safety.
While at the Texas Attorney General’s Office, Pat employed the Texas false claims act, known as the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act, to build a powerful coalition of individual qui tam whistleblowers, the counsel representing them and the dedicated attorneys in the Texas Attorney General’s office under his leadership. Together, these united forces worked time and again to expose and put a stop to the rampant fraud engaged in by the health care industry. Pat points out that whistleblowers are vital to stopping corporate fraud: “We rely on whistleblowers to expose fraud, so the law offers them a financial incentive to come forward. I am honored to be in a position to hold corporations accountable when they defraud our government.”
Pat’s experience and leadership in fighting Medicaid fraud has earned him a reputation that fosters trust and cooperation that is critical for the success of qui tam litigation during the government’s investigation phase as well as during the prosecution of these lawsuits in court. Pat has been called upon to testify before committees of the U.S. Congress on Medicaid fraud issues on three separate occasions. In addition, Pat has testified regarding the effectiveness of state false claims acts to legislatures across the country, including Texas, Maryland, Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota.
Texas Lawyer named Pat one of the top 50 in-house lawyers in Texas for his work with the Texas Attorney General’s Civil Medicaid Fraud Section. And in September 2007, he received the Honest Abe Integrity in Government Award from the Taxpayers Against Fraud for making Texas a leader in curbing fraud through the use of a state False Claims Act. Pat was the first state government lawyer ever honored with this prestigious award, and currently is the only state lawyer to have received it. He is AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5.0 Peer Review Rated, the highest level of professional excellence in legal ability and ethical standards by Martindale-Hubbell.
In 2005, the Texas Observer published an article outlining the history of qui tam cases and the extraordinary results Pat and his team had achieved on behalf of Texas taxpayers. See Texas Goes After Big Pharma.
Pat is a native of Austin whose parents worked for the University of Texas and had a dog named “Hookem.” He put himself through school, playing on the UT handball team and receiving three degrees from UT. Pat is a Life Member of the Texas Exes, a longtime contributor to the Longhorn Foundation, and has season football, basketball and baseball tickets; he bleeds orange.
Pat and his wife of over 31 years, Jan Soifer, have two grown children, Brad, a graduate of the University of Texas, and Ally, a graduate of the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Pat and Jan are active in numerous charities and non-profit entities in the Austin area. In his spare time, Pat enjoys handball, golf, and supporting his Texas Longhorns.
- University of Texas School of Law (J.D. 1984)
- University of Texas at Austin (M.B.A. 1979)
- University of Texas at Austin (B.A. 1975)
Bar & Court Admissions
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- United States District Courts for the Southern, Western and Northern Districts of Texas
- Top 50 In-House Lawyers in Texas (Texas Lawyer, 2005)
- Honest Abe Integrity in Government Award (Taxpayers Against Fraud, September 2007)
- Austin Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- American Health Lawyers Association
- American Association for Justice
- Texas Trial Lawyers Association
- Capital Area Trial Lawyers
- Taxpayers Against Fraud
- Texas Bar Foundation Life Fellow
- Austin Bar Foundation Life Fellow