The number of far-reaching and burdensome False Claims Act (FCA) decisions increases by the day. In an August 14, 2015 order by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, a whistleblower’s complaint survived a motion to dismiss based upon some rather attenuated allegations. Since this matter was decided at the pleadings stage, the facts may ultimately dictate a different outcome; nevertheless, the cost and burden of defending the case may result in a costly settlement precipitated by this decision.
In the case, U.S. ex rel. Bingham v. BayCare Health System, the claim is that BayCare’s construction of medical office buildings, common areas, walkways and garages on the campus of a BayCare hospital (St. Anthony’s Hospital), provided a benefit to referring physicians sufficient to constitute prohibited remuneration under the Stark law. The medical office building was constructed by an entity called “St. Pete MOB, LLC”, which is not described as having ownership by referring physicians. Although the facts are not clear, it appears that the allegedly improper benefit to physicians took the form of BayCare providing a “non-exclusive parking easement” to St. Pete MOB. Continue reading “Another far-reaching FCA decision”