Health Management Associates settles False Claims Act case
In September 2018, Health Management Associates (“HMA”) agreed to pay $260 million to resolve a number of lawsuits filed by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act as well as a guilty criminal plea.
Two of the complaints that were a part of the settlement were filed by Wilbanks & Gouinlock on behalf of Mr. Ralph Williams and Dr. Craig Brummer. Mr. Williams was the chief financial officer for two HMA-owned hospitals in Georgia and Dr. Brummer was an emergency department physician who worked as the medical director of the emergency departments for the same two hospitals.
The complaints were filed separately and independent of each other, but both whistleblowers observed similar patterns of behavior within the HMA hospital system. Dr. Brummer had daily meetings where emergency department physicians were pressured to increase the volume of inpatient admissions to maximize profits. From the corporate side, Mr. Williams saw HMA set system-wide goals to increase patient admissions at HMA hospitals, even if that increase involved admitting patients into the hospital who could have been treated in a lower acuity setting such as the outpatient setting.
HMA paid approximately $62.5 million to resolve the allegations brought by Dr. Brummer and Mr. Williams. A substantial portion of the criminal case and fine imposed against HMA was based directly on the information that was first brought to the attention of the Government by these W&G whistleblowers.
Click here to read the Wilbanks & Gouinlock press release regarding the HMA settlement.