A federal judge in Florida has issued a stay on more than $350 million in False Claims Act judgments in fear that the nursing homes ordered to pay them could suddenly shut down as a result. In his action, the U.S. district judge prohibited enforcement agencies from collecting on the judgments as the nursing home organizations embark on post-trial motions.
The judge went on to say that more than 100 nursing home facilities could be closed if the actions were to be enforced. Eighty of those facilities are located in Florida alone. The closings, the judge said, would threaten the health and well-being of thousands of people.
Defendants made false Medicare, Medicaid claims
In the original case, a jury ruled that several nursing home organizations had made false claims to the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs. A whistleblower, a nurse named Angela Ruckh, exposed the fraud after she realized that four organizations had falsely claimed compensation for unnecessary treatments.
While the jury verdict was for $115 million, that amount was later tripled to $350 million. That’s a common occurrence when these cases go to trial, which is why most get settled out of court.
While it’s not yet clear if and when the guilty parties will need to adhere to the judgment, the case overall illustrates how important even one whistleblower can be when it comes to uncovering fraud and other illegal activities. If you are aware of similar wrongdoing within your organization, there may be protections available to you. For further information, speak with an experienced Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.