A former utilization review nurse at Brookdale Senior Living who claimed the country’s largest senior living company fraudulently billed the Medicare program for $35 million dropped her lawsuit on Monday.
Brentwood, TN-based Brookdale Senior Living told McKnight’s Senior Living that the company was “pleased” with the decision.
As McKnight’s Senior Living previously reported, plaintiff Marjorie Prather first brought the case in 2012. She alleged that in late 2011, Brookdale began having her review claims for home healthcare provided to assisted living residents without physicians having signed regulator-required documentation when they certified the need for home health services or as soon thereafter as possible. Brookdale did this, she said, to address a backlog of approximately 7,000 unbilled Medicare claims worth about $35 million.
Prather also alleged that Brookdale violated the False Claims Act by keeping reimbursements that she said would not have been paid had the government been aware of the company’s actions.
“We are pleased with the plaintiff’s decision to end this litigation. From the beginning, we strongly disagreed with the allegations and are satisfied that the case was dismissed and support for our position was the eventual ruling,” Brookdale said in a statement to McKnight’s Senior Living.
The United States was named as a plaintiff in the case, too. Per a “stipulation of dismissal” submitted by all parties, Judge Aleta A. Trauger of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee dismissed the case with prejudice as to Prather and without prejudice as to the United States, meaning the U.S. government is free to file another lawsuit based on the same grounds, but Prather is not.
“The parties have not entered into a settlement agreement related to this dismissal, and all parties are to bear their own attorney’s fees and costs,” according to the court document.
As the case made its way through the court system over the years, each side had victories along the way. The case even reached the Supreme Court earlier this year, with the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice filing friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Brookdale.
Read more about the case’s history here.