Category: Healthcare

Another Qui Tam Suit Alleging a Scheme to Defraud by Reporting Inflated Drug Prices Survives Motion to Dismiss

Nathan Ebnet

Within the last five years, district courts in the Seventh Circuit have repeatedly denied motions to dismiss qui tam lawsuits brought under the FCA that allege a scheme to defraud government health programs by reporting inflated “usual and customary” prices for prescription drugs. By contrast, at least one district court in the Sixth Circuit recently granted such a motion under Rule 9(b). On March 7,...

DOJ Levels False Claims Act at Pharmacies to Combat Opioid Crisis

Lauren Roso

This month the Department of Justice brought a “first of its kind” action against two pharmacies, their owner, and three pharmacists for allegedly dispensing and billing Medicare for prescriptions in violation of both the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the False Claims Act (FCA).  See United States v. Oakley Pharmacy, Inc., et al., No. 2:19-cv-00009 (M.D. Tenn).  The action, seeking both injunctive relief and civil...

For FY2018, Justice Department Touts Nearly $3 Billion in False Claims Act Recoveries, Mostly From Qui Tams and Alleged Healthcare Frauds

David Green

The Justice Department announced in a recent press release that it obtained more than $2.8 billion in settlements and judgments from cases involving fraud and false claims against the government. The vast majority of this amount—$2.1 billion—came from lawsuits filed by whistleblowers, or “relators” suing on behalf of the government, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claim Act (“FCA”). Included in the qui...

Sixth Circuit: Timing of Physician Certification for In-Home Care Remains Material After Escobar

Ben Kappelman

A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit again revived an FCA suit against home-health services providers premised on the providers’ alleged improper procurement of physician medical necessity certifications supporting Medicare claims. In United States v. Brookdale Senior Living Communities, Inc., — F.3d —-, 2018 WL 2770598 (6th Cir. June 11, 2018), a nurse alleged she was hired by several...

Third Circuit: False Claims Act Liability Premised on an Anti-Kickback Statute Violation Requires Proof that at Least One Federal Claim Resulted from an Improper Referral or Recommendation

Ben Kappelman

Federal scrutiny of charities that assist patients with accessing prescription drugs has increased with rising prescription drug prices.  Some prescription drug charities receive funding from medical providers or drug manufacturers, which can raise questions about whether the charities’ funders are using the charities to generate improper recommendations or referrals. In December 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General rescinded a...

Applying Escobar’s Materiality Standard, Florida Federal Court Reverses $350 Million False Claims Act Verdict against a Nursing Home Operator

Alissa Smith

If the government does not take action and continues to pay for Medicare/Medicaid claims after it learns of non-compliance related to the claims, is the non-compliance material to the government’s decision to pay?  This is a question being answered in the negative by courts across the country, who have concluded that the government (or a qui tam relator) is not able to proceed under a...

HIPAA As a Basis for FCA Liability? One Court Says Yes

Nathan Ebnet

Until very recently, no case existed in which FCA liability arose from a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). But in United States v. America at Home Healthcare and Nursing Services, Ltd., Judge John Robert Blakely of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, allowed an FCA claim premised on a HIPAA violation to survive...

Consultant Guilty of Illegal Kickbacks By “Referring” Doctors’ Patients to Another Medical Provider in Exchange for Remuneration

RJ Zayed

Under 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(1)(A) it is a felony for a physician to solicit or receive a kickback “in return for referring” a Medicaid or Medicare patient to another medical provider. But as a recent decision by the Eighth Circuit in United States v. Iqbal demonstrates, physicians are not the only ones capable of making illegal referrals under the statute—consultants can, too. Defendant Iqbal was a...

Genesis Healthcare Settlement with Federal Government

Alissa Smith

On June 16, 2017, The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced a $53.6 million dollar settlement with Genesis Healthcare Inc. (“Genesis”) over six federal whistleblower lawsuits alleging that subsidiaries of the rehabilitation and transitional care provider violated the False Claims Act (“FCA”). The original qui tam plaintiffs, former employees of companies acquired by Genesis, will receive a combined $9.67 million dollars in recovery. The settlement resolved...

Alleging Improper Use of Funds Legitimately Obtained from the Government Insufficient to State FCA Retaliation Claim

Ben Kappelman

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas has dismissed an FCA retaliation claim brought by a nurse who claimed to have blown the whistle on misuse of funds at a hospital that received significant federal revenue. In Endicott v. Oakbend Medical Center, the nurse alleged she was fired after she complained that several hospital executives were using hospital employee time to enrich...