Tuomey Healthcare System to Fork Over $70 Million during False Claims Act Appeal By Tod Aronovitz | 07/08/14 | 0 Comment

Tuomey Healthcare System has been ordered to pay $70 million on a $237 million judgment until an appeal in the False Claims Act case is completed, Becker’s Hospital Review reported recently.

A jury ruled in May 2013 that the company violated the Stark Law and the False Claims Act for submitting illegal claims worth about $39 million through the use of improper compensation arrangements with 19 of its specialists.

In April of this year, the Sumter, S.C.-based company was ordered to pay a $30 million supersedeas bond—or defendant’s appeal bond—within 10 days of the court order being entered. U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour also ordered Tuomey to deposit $40 million in an escrow account while waiting on appeal.

The company has again appealed—this time, the judge’s ruling to pay the $70 million—claiming it would be forced to shut down or claim bankruptcy, the Washington Times reported.

According to an article in Becker’s Hospital Review, the jury arrived at its decision based on a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that the company paid 19 specialists to adhere to the non-compete clauses in their contracts, which dissuaded them from referring patients to competing hospitals or doctors. The contracts also established that Tuomey would bill all third parties, including Medicare and Medicaid.

The Stark Law prohibits hospitals from making claims to Medicare for patients referred to the hospital by physicians who have a prohibited financial relationship with the hospital.

In the case, Tuomey argued that it used the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) guidelines when creating contracts with its physicians.

ARONOVITZ LAW first covered the matter in a February post titled “Justice Department Recovers $2.6 Billion in False Claims Act Health Care Fraud in FY13.”

How to Report Miami Medicare Fraud

Healthcare professionals or medical billing employees who have knowledge of questionable Medicare billing practices can file a confidential legal claim under the False Claims Act. By acting as a “whistleblower” in what is known as a “qui tam” lawsuit, a private party may collect up to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam Law Firm

The Miami Qui Tam law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely works with whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss your case.