On June 2, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia announced that a Middle District Judge had ruled in the government’s favor against Middle Georgia Family Rehab in a case involving allegedly false claims submitted to TRICARE and Medicaid. The court ordered the rehab facility to pay $9.6 million for allegedly submitting hundreds of false claims to government healthcare programs. Serving as the finder of fact, the judge had previously granted partial summary judgment against the rehab facility, finding that the facility had submitted approximately 800 false claims for services to TRICARE and Medicaid.
The government alleged that the rehab facility had submitted claims for physical therapy and speech therapy under the names of a physical therapist and speech therapist who were no longer working for the facility. The court agreed, finding that the services could not have been rendered by the individuals under whose names the claims had been submitted, and the facility displayed a reckless disregard for the truth in submitting the claims over an eight-month period. Specifically, the Court found that MGFR’s submission of almost 800 claims to Medicaid and TRICARE over an eight-month period following the resignation of one physical therapist and 41 claims following the resignation of a speech therapist could not be characterized as an “honest mistake” and instead “epitomizes ‘reckless disregard’ of the truth.”
The $9.6 million to be paid consists of both damages to the government and per violation penalties for each false claim submitted to the government. This significant award demonstrates how FCA damages can quickly compound the actual amount received from the government payor into a far larger number.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with False Claims Act investigations and qui tam litigation. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.