Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Congressional Research Service report on the False Claims Act

The Congressional Research Service has released a report on the False Claims Act, Qui Tam: The False Claims Act and Related Federal Statutes. CRS is a department within the Library of Congress that provides policy and legal analysis to Congressional committees and members.

The report summarizes the history of the law, including the 2009 amendments. It outlines key provisions of the law: who may be liable, who may bring an action, basis for liability, penalties and awards, and procedure. Another section considers constitutional concerns that have been raised, such as due process, separation of powers, standing, and the appointments clause.

An abridged version is also available: Qui Tam: An Abbreviated Look at the False Claims Act and Related Federal Statutes.

Hospitals settle kyphoplasty fraud suit for $8.3 million

Six hospitals in Indiana and Alabama will pay the United States more than $8 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, the U.S. Dept. of Justice announced on September 22.

The settlement resolves allegations that, from 2000 to 2008, patients who went to these hospitals for a certain type of spinal surgery known as "kyphoplasty" were unnecessarily kept overnight at the hospital and then classified as inpatient cases to boost the hospitals' revenues. The lawsuit said, and the government agreed, that the minimally invasive procedure can usually be performed safely on an outpatient basis.

Three hospitals in the St. Paul, Minn. area settled similar allegations in June.

The whistleblowers, Craig Patrick and Chuck Bates, were represented by Phillips & Cohen LLP.