In the Courts: Services Can Be “Worth Less” without Being “Worthless,” Says Court

August 29, 2014 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​In a whistleblower case initiated by two nurses and based on the False Claims Act (FCA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has vacated a $9 million verdict, as well as retaliation claims brought by the nurses. The court remanded the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of the nursing home and the president and part-owner. The nurses had brought the whistleblower action on behalf of the government and sued in their own capacities, alleging that the nursing home retaliated against them for reporting evidence of fraud.

At trial, the nurses offered evidence of issues related to infection control, pressure ulcers, medications, medical equipment, environmental cleanliness, pests, food and water temperatures, residents' trust accounts, and incidents including an administrator hitting a resident, elopement, scalding, and resident death due to a colostomy bag malfunction. They further maintained that supervisors occasionally told staff not to document scabies symptoms or pressure ulcers and hid charts with such documentation during surveys. They also presented evidence that the facility temporarily staffed...

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