US Dist. Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Athens Division
While this is a straightforward and simple kickback case (kickback for the referral of undocumented pregnant women eligible for Medicaid), The Order “knocks down multiple motions to dismiss and does it with a flourish and in detail.” Both DOJ and the State of Georgia intervened in this case.
Plaintiffs allege that five hospitals in Georgia and South Carolina paid clinics that provided prenatal care to undocumented Hispanic mothers to refer those mothers to their hospitals for the delivery of their babies in violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b. When the hospitals submitted Medicaid claims for these deliveries, Plaintiffs contend that they violated the federal False Claims Act 31 U.S.C. § 3729, and its Georgia counterpart, the Georgia Medicaid False Claims act, O.C.G.A. § 49-4-168.1 to 168.6.
The order begins, “It is estimated that more than 340,000 babies are born each year to undocumented alien mothers in United States hospitals. The American taxpayers, through the Medicaid program, pay these hospitals at least $1 billion per year for these deliveries. While the wisdom of the public policy related to these issues is for the Legislative and Executive Branches (and not for this Court) to consider, the financial opportunities presented by these numbers reveal why the healthcare industry may be motivated to pursue this slice of the Medicaid pie aggressively.” In this case, Plaintiffs maintain that Defendants’ aggressive pursuit violated the law.
The court found that “Plaintiffs have adequately alleged facts to support the conclusion that Defendant acted knowingly and willfully.” The order ends, “For the reasons described in this Order, the Motions to Dismiss are denied.”
To view the referenced Order in the case, click here.