CINCINNATI (CN) - The 6th Circuit tossed an $82.6 million judgment against companies accused of using false Medicare claims to bilk millions from taxpayers. In a federal whistle-blower complaint, the United States claimed that Renal Care Group, Renal Care Group Supply Co. and Fresenius Medical Care Holdings recklessly disregarded federal law between 1999 and 2005 when billing Medicare for home dialysis supplies and equipment. The government claimed that Renal Care Group had submitted false claims for equipment provided to home dialysis patients, and set up a sham billing company that interfered with patients' choice of supply options and forced their business. U.S. District Judge William Haynes awarded the government $82.6 million at summary judgment, but the federal appeals court reversed Friday. It found that there was no evidence that the defendants acted with actual knowledge or deliberate ignorance of the truth. "The defendants did not act with reckless disregard of the alleged falsity of their submissions to Medicare," Judge R. Guy Cole Jr. wrote for a three-member panel. "And given that there is no evidence in the record that they acted with actual knowledge (in violation of 31 U.S.C. § 3729(b)(1)(A)(i)), or in deliberate ignorance of the truth (in violation of 31 U.S.C. § 3729(b)(1)(A)(ii)), they are therefore not liable under Count One of the complaint for
False Claims Act liability."
The case has been remanded back to federal court.
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