Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Renal Care loses $19.3 million ruling

A long-running whistleblower complaint against the once-Nashville based Renal Care Group has led to a $19.3 million federal court judgment against the acquired dialysis supplier and the German company that bought it four years ago.
The lawsuit, which focused on improper claims submitted to Medicare for home dialysis supplies, named Renal Care Group Supply Co. and Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc., as co-defendants. The federal government joined the whistleblower complaint more than two years ago.

Renal Care operated a shell billing company solely to submit claims on behalf of itself in violation of federal law that requires suppliers to be independent of the dialysis facilities where patients are treated, the government said. Even after employees raised concerns, Renal Care continued to operate the billing company because of the "illicit revenues it created," the suit said.

One employee wrote: "I do not wish to go to jail" and felt the company's plan "was not in the best interests of patients," said federal Judge William J. Haynes Jr. of Nashville in his ruling.

The billings reportedly occurred over a six-year period beginning in 1999. The Fresenius-Renal Care acquisition closed in 2006 at a sales price of $3.5 billion.

Renal Care Group also failed to heed the advice of its lawyers when operating the supply company, and discussed an internal audit of the supply company that found 100 percent of its files were lacking information that Medicare requires, the court said. The suit was originally filed in St. Louis in 2005. The case was later moved to Nashville.

The defendants Tuesday appealed the ruling with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court.

Reach Getahn Ward at 615-726-5968 or

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