Category Archives: False Claims Act

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Escobar: Year One

The healthcare industry is exposed to False Claims Act liability more so than other industries because of the federal government’s unique role as both a regulator and payor. Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar is a game changing decision for those in the healthcare industry because it makes violations of certain regulations … Continue Reading

Alert: In a Surprise Decision Issued on October 5, 2017, Honorable John Walter, United States District Judge, Dismissed a Medicare Advantage Risk Adjustment Fraud Suit Against UnitedHealthcare

On October 5, 2017, the Honorable Judge John Walter of the United States District Court, Central District of California, granted the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Medicare Advantage (“MA”) Federal False Claims Act (“FCA”) case of United States of America ex rel. Swoben v. Scan Health Plan, et al. (CV 09-5013-JFW (JEMx)) (the “Swoben Case”) … Continue Reading

The Siege Continues: The Justice Department is Investigating Four Additional Medicare Advantage Plans

In our prior blog post, we reported that, at the request of the federal Department of Justice, the FCA qui tam whistleblower lawsuit in the case of United States ex rel Benjamin Poehling v. United HealthGroup, Inc., et. al. was unsealed on February 15, 2017.  The complaint alleges that United HealthGroup, as well as a … Continue Reading

DOJ Issues New Guidance on the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs in Federal Fraud Investigations

On February 8th, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) quietly issued new guidance on how the agency evaluates corporate compliance programs during fraud investigations. The guidance, published on the agency’s website as the “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs,” lists 119 “sample questions” that the DOJ’s Fraud Section has frequently found relevant in determining whether to … Continue Reading

Justice Department Joins Whistleblower Suit Accusing UnitedHealth Group of Overcharging Medicare by “Hundreds of Millions”

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has joined a whistleblower lawsuit, United States of America ex rel Benjamin Poehling v. Unitedhealth Group Inc., No. 16-08697 (Cent. Dist. Cal. Sep. 17, 2010), ECF No. 79, against UnitedHealth Group (United) and its subsidiary, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement—the nation’s largest provider of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. The suit … Continue Reading

The Overpayment Rule and the Implied False Claims Theory: “What You Don’t Know Can Still Hurt You”

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) enacted new rules governing overpayments made by the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Under these rules, providers have 60 days from the date that the overpayment has been identified to return the overpayment or face penalties and treble damages under the False Claims Act (“FCA”).  As described below, recent … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Preserves But Significantly Changes “Implied Certification” Theory of False Claims Act Liability

On June 16, 2016, the Supreme Court issued its opinion (“Op.”) in Universal Health Services v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar (“Escobar”), a case testing the viability and scope of the implied certification theory of False Claims Act (“FCA”) liability.  Under the implied certification theory, a defendant may be liable under the FCA based on the … Continue Reading

Did the FCA’s “Implied Certification” Theory Dodge a Bullet?

Yesterday’s argument before the Supreme Court in Universal Health Services, Inc. v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar had the potential to put false claims based on an “implied certification” in the crosshairs. Instead, based on the weight of questioning by a plurality of justices, it appears that some form of implied certification theory may survive. (We … Continue Reading

How Are Your Physicians Compensated? Stark Law + False Claims Act = Halifax Paying $85 Million

On March 10, 2014, just days before trial, Halifax Hospital Medical Center and Halifax Staffing, Inc. (collectively “Halifax”) entered into an $85 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice resolving allegations that they violated the False Claims Act (“FCA”) by submitting Medicare claims that violated the Stark law.  (See Notice of Settlement and Settlement … Continue Reading

Update on the Provider Self-Disclosure Protocol

Since we last reported on the Provider Self-Disclosure Protocol (“Protocol”) issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”), the entire Protocol has been revamped.  Rather than being in the Federal Register, the Protocol is on the OIG website.  The current Protocol extends not just to providers, but also … Continue Reading

The $330-Million Dollar Question

The question every false claims defendant must face is whether to pursue litigation or simply concede and settle.  While many shy away from litigation, opting for an expensive but certain resolution, for Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the decision to pursue their day in court has saved J&J over $330 million.… Continue Reading

Navigating the Provider Self-Disclosure Protocol

Providers can voluntarily disclose potential fraud with respect to Federal health care programs—Medicare, Medicaid, and potentially private insurers to the extent Federal or state funds are involved—by following the Provider Self-Disclosure Protocol (“Protocol”) issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”). (See 63 FR 58399 (Oct. 30, 1998).) … Continue Reading
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