According to a report by PNJ.com, Health Management Associates Inc. (HMA), a company that runs dozens of medical facilities across 15 states, is facing eight separate whistleblower lawsuits, including one recently filed by the United States Department of Justice.
The lawsuits claim that HMA exploited federal healthcare programs by allowing excessive inpatient admissions and paying doctors for referrals, says a Department of Justice news release.
The federal lawsuit targets former HMA CEO Gary Newsome, alleging that he demanded physicians to needlessly place patients in the emergency room when they should have been admitted into observation or even discharged. Doctors who complied with Newsome’s demands were allegedly awarded bonuses and other contractual benefits.
All eight lawsuits were filed according to the whistleblower terms stipulated in the False Claims Act. These terms allow private parties, usually current or former employees, to sue a company on behalf of the government if that company wrongfully acquired funds from government programs through deceptive practices.
The HMA medical facilities involved in the lawsuits received coverage from federally funded programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
The lawsuits are awaiting trial in seven different districts in six different states, including the Middle District of Georgia.
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