U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose issued an order today adopting an April recommendation from Magistrate Judge Sonja F. Bivins to dismiss Infirmary Health System, Inc. and its affiliated clinics from portions of a false claims case related by a former cardiologist and picked up by federal prosecutors.
The order also dismisses one count alleging a False Claims Act violation against two affiliated clinics, IMC – Diagnostic & Medical Clinic, P.C. and IMC – Northside Clinic, P.C., but also upholds other counts of false claims and unjust enrichment.
On April 11, Judge Dubose also dismissed allegations against the defendants brought by former Infirmary physician Christian Heesch, M.D., who claimed the hospital unlawfully billed government healthcare programs for as much as $521 million in services between 2005-2011.
Judge DuBose’s order also denied a government request for leave to amend its complaint, noting that the United States had had “almost three years to properly investigate and assert its claims,” noting the case is scheduled for trial in September.
In a prepared statement, Infirmary Health CEO Mark Nix said, “The judge’s most recent order dismissing Infirmary Health System, Inc. and Infirmary Medical Clinics, P.C. from this case demonstrates that the government’s allegations against them were unsubstantiated. The clinics look forward to defending the remaining claims and feel confident that they will be able to demonstrate that they complied with Medicare billing requirements and acted in good faith and in the best interest of their patients. We anticipate and look forward to an expeditious resolution of this lawsuit.”
Discover in the case has a deadline in early June while a trial is scheduled for September.
Last year, Lagniappe revealed that Heesch was involved in another False Claims case with a previous employer in Arizona. As a relator in a False Claims case, Heesch stands to gain a percentage of any recovery the government is able to secure in a trial.