The U.S. Justice Department is revisiting a whistle-blower case that it declined to join in December 2010 in light of the subpoena that Community Health Systems, Franklin, Tenn., received on April 8 from HHS' inspector general's office, Community disclosed in a securities filing.
Feds taking another look Community whistle-blower case
The case involves a hospital, 396-bed Lutheran Hospital of Indiana, Fort Wayne, that became part of Community when it acquired Triad Hospitals in 2007, according to the filing. The False Claims Act lawsuit was filed in January 2009 and alleged that the hospital falsely billed Medicare for 23-hour observation visits after outpatient surgeries and procedures and intentionally assigned inpatient status to one-day stays that did not meet the Medicare criteria for such stays. The former employee who filed the lawsuit worked in case management at the hospital until she was reassigned in 2006, according to the filing. Her complaint alleges age discrimination in her reassignment and retaliation connected to her resignation in October 2008, according to the filing.
The case was unsealed after the government declined to intervene in the suit, but Community has not been served with the lawsuit and was not aware of more recent developments in the case, including the government’s decision not to intervene in the case, until the Justice Department contacted the company on April 22, according to the filing.
Community disclosed the subpoena from HHS’ inspector general’s office in a filing on April 15.
The company is cooperating with the Justice Department, according to the filing.
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