The Department of Justice will drop a Medicare fraud case against HCR ManorCare, Inc., according to a court filing obtained by Skilled Nursing News.
“The United States has advised Defendants of its intent to move to dismiss this case with prejudice,” the filing reads, indicating that the government will not pursue the matter further.
United States District Judge Claude Hilton approved the joint motion on Thursday, staying all deadlines in the case until further notice.
The news comes on the same day that the two parties were expected to participate in a summary judgment hearing over the allegations, which the DOJ first brought in April 2015. At the time, the government accused the Toledo, Ohio-based skilled nursing provider of performing “medically unnecessary” therapy services, then billing Medicare and Tricare.
While a trial date had been set for January, the DOJ’s case hit a snag this week when a federal judge ordered the government to pay HCR ManorCare’s legal fees and threw out the testimony of a key witness, calling it “nonsense.”
As part of the decision to see the case dismissed, ManorCare indicated that it would not pursue those legal fees, according to the filing. Both parties plan to formally issue a notice of dismissal by November 17, the former deadline for all pre-trial filings.
Lawyers for two of the original petitioners, Christine Ribik and Marie Slough, have announced their intentions to oppose the motion.
HCR ManorCare CEO Steve Cavanaugh celebrated the decision in a statement provided to SNN.
“Today, we are vindicated,” Cavanaugh said, going on to quote U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan, who said she was “appalled, “embarrassed,” and “ashamed” over the government’s case.
“With no payment of any kind by HCR ManorCare, the lawsuit is over. To be perfectly clear, we are not settling the case — the government is dismissing it, fully and finally,” he said.
Written by Alex Spanko