A whistleblower can now continue to pursue charges that a New Jersey health system improperly designated Medicare beneficiaries as inpatients and sometimes prolonged their hospital stay to qualify them for skilled nursing care.
The case involves a number of practice groups and physicians allegedly engaged in the practices at hospitals operated by Atlantic Health System. They sought to have the charges dismissed for some of these hospitals, arguing that the legal complaint did not lay out specific enough allegations implicating these locations.
The defendants’ arguments might have been persuasive in “other circumstances,” but not in this False Claims Act case, ruled Judge William J. Martini of the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. “In other cases, courts have accepted, for purposes of a motion to dismiss, that a defendant violating the FCA in one location was engaging in the same conduct in another location,” he said in his denial of the Motion.
Other hospitals and healthcare organizations have been charged with similar activities. The nation’s largest hospital organization recently reached a $98 million settlement to resolve charges that it improperly categorized people as inpatients.
Jeff Newman represents whistleblowers