A recent appellate court ruling in favor of an Illinois nursing home could shield other healthcare providers from False Claims Act allegations that involve poor quality of care.
Last week, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a judgment against Momence (Ill.) Meadows Nursing Center and in favor of two whistle-blowers, both nurses who used to work at the facility. A District Court ordered Momence to pay more than $9 million under the False Claims Act. The appeals court, however, concluded that the plaintiffs' argument rested on an incorrect application of the “worthless services” theory.
Experts say the ruling reaffirms that the False Claims Act is rarely an appropriate tool for policing medical negligence. “It will serve as a standard by which other circuit courts will evaluate similar cases,” said Gary Eiland, a partner in the Houston office of law firm King & Spalding who works on healthcare false claims cases.