Huron Consulting Group may be guilty of “bad practice,” but it didn’t help to defraud Medicare and Medicaid out of millions of dollars, according to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who dismissed a whistleblower suit against the company on Tuesday.
Associates Against Outlier Fraud, which is owned by former Huron accounting consultant Steven Landgraber, filed the False Claims Act lawsuit in 2009, alleging that Huron caused a New York hospital to receive more than $30 million in inflated payments from Medicare and Medicaid.
According to the lawsuit, St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center hired the consulting firm Speltz & Weis, which Huron later acquired, to help improve its business. Huron allegedly chose to do so by causing the hospital to submit false claims for reimbursement of costly in-patient care. Empire HealthChoice Assurance Inc., which was St. Vincent’s fiscal intermediary, was also named as a defendant.
But Rakoff ruled that nothing in the whistleblower’s complaint suggested that Huron’s actions were illegal, saying: “There is, in sum, no law, rule, regulation or fact rendering Huron’s submission of outlier-producing bills under these circumstances false or fraudulent.”
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