Court tosses Fresenius' $82.6M fraud charge

A federal appeals court reversed charges that a Fresenius ($FMS) subsidiary bilked Medicare for reimbursement on home dialysis machines, negating an $82.6 million charge against the company and sending the case back to federal court.

Last year, a whistleblower suit alleged that Fresenius' Renal Care Group falsified claims to Medicare for its dialysis machines, setting up a sham billing outfit that forced patients to deal with the company. The court ordered Fresenius to pay out $82.6 million in penalties and damages to the federal government.

Now, however, Judge Guy Cole Jr. has reversed the lower court's decision, saying there's no evidence Fresenius acted with knowledge or deliberate ignorance of the truth in filing its Medicare claims, Courthouse News reports. In the court's opinion, Cole says that while the company did go out of its way to profit off of a loophole in Medicare law, doing so did not constitute a "reckless disregard" for the False Claims Act.

The case will now go back to the same federal court that found in favor of the government, as the higher court denied Fresenius' request for a reassignment. 

- here's the Courthouse News story
- check out the court's opinion (PDF)

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