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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The plaintiff, Joyce Riley, a former nurse at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, sued the defendants under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The district court dismissed the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. To the extent that the district court held that the fraud claims failed “as unsupported by the evidence,” and noted that there was “no evidence” or “no credible evidence” on certain issues, the court was not applying the correct standard for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. A Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is not warranted just because the district court “believes the plaintiff is unlikely to prevail on the merits.” Clark v. Amoco Prod. Co., 794 F.2d 967 (5th Cir. 1986). The FCA applies to anyone who “‘knowingly assist[s] in causing’” the government to pay claims grounded in fraud, “‘without regard to whether that person ha[s] direct contractual relations with the government.’” Peterson v. Weinberger, 508 F.2d 45 (5th Cir.) (quoting United States ex rel. Marcus v. Hess, 317 U.S. 537 (1943)), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 830 (1975). “Thus, a person need not be the one who actually submitted the claim forms in order to be liable.” United States v. Mackby, 261 F.3d 821 (9th Cir. 2001). Riley does allege that the defendants assisted one another and cooperated in a scheme or pattern of billing for and covering up these allegedly false-claim items. Under the “knowing assistance” standard of Hess and Peterson, these allegations suffice to implicate all defendants. The physician defendants point out that their claim forms are expressly designed to include services furnished “by my employee under my immediate personal supervision.” The allegations of the complaint, however, are that Dr. Radovancevic provided the services “without authority or supervision.” The court accepts these allegations as true at this stage of the proceedings. A certifying doctor who is not the doctor who rendered or personally supervised the services is subject to liability for a false claim. The hospital defendants argue that Riley never alleged that they submitted false claims for Dr. Radovancevic’s services. Because there is no false-claims liability for an inadvertent error, they argue that they should not be liable either for a regulatory misstep or for services that were immaterial to the hospital billings. Arguing against implied-certification liability, St. Luke’s maintains that it cannot be deemed to have “knowingly” submitted a false claim based on a regulatory misstep, where it has actually rendered the services billed. THI, an organization of doctors at St. Luke’s, and Dr. Radovancevic contend that, because they did not submit claims at all, they are not implicated by the allegations. St. Luke’s arguments fail, because Riley has not alleged simple inadvertence. Taking Riley’s allegations as true, St. Luke’s knew that Dr. Radovancevic could not practice medicine, yet provided him the means to do so regardless, instructed nurses to conceal the impropriety, and hid his services in false billings to Medicare and CHAMPUS, trying to keep Dr. Radovancevic’s name out of their records. Allegations suffice under the FCA if they state that defendant made a record or statement known to be false or fraudulent in order to get a false claim paid. 31 U.S.C. �3729(a)(2). Under Peterson, “False” can mean “deceitful,” or “tending to mislead,” and a “false claim” is one “grounded in fraud which might result in financial loss to the Government.” The FCA “reaches beyond”claims’ which might be legally enforced, to all fraudulent attempts to cause the Government to pay out sums of money.” This complaint is not like the one this court discussed in United States ex rel. Willard v. Humana Health Plan, 336 F.3d 375 (5th Cir. 2003), wherein all the claims were indisputably valid. Here, the allegations noted describe false records and false claims. The scienter element is satisfied without resorting to an implied certification theory of liability. As for THI, Dr. Radovancevic, and Baylor, any stipulation that they did not file claims does not exonerate them. Anyone who “knowingly assist[s] in causing” the government to pay claims grounded in fraud can be liable under the FCA. The court finds the defendants’ assertion that financial injury to the government was not sufficiently alleged to be without merit. The hospital defendants’ argument that the FCA is inequitable in the healthcare industry is one more properly addressed to Congress than a court. OPINION:Duhe, J.; Davis, Smith and Duhe, JJ.

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