The USDC for the Western District of Pennsylvania has issued a significant False Claims Act Whistleblower Opinion in the case of U.S. ex rel. Singh v. Bradford Regional Medical Center. The False Claims Act case rested on a lease arrangement between certain physicians and Bradford Regional Medical Center, which the court ruled violated the Stark Act and did not satisfy any Stark law exception. Accordingly, claims submitted by the Hospital also violated the Stark Act.

This lengthy opinion deals with many issues, i.e.:

·        The burden of proof in establishing compliance with the Stark Act;

·        Whether compensation can violate the fair market value standard even if a written opinion is obtained;

·        Whether fixed compensation can still be deemed to take into account the volume or value of physician referrals;

·        The requirements for the arrangement to be “set out in writing.”

The opinion is attached, as well as an excellent summary of the opinion prepared by Gary W. Herschman of Sills, Cummis & Gross in Newark, New Jersey and Michael W. Paddock of Crowell & Moring in Washington, D.C. The summary was produced and disseminated by the American Health Lawyers Association — and indicates the value of membership.

It is interesting to note that the Court used the fair market value opinion itself to conclude that the opinion was based upon the value or volume of referrals, given the fact that the valuation was based upon the income stream. 

Copyright 2011 American Health Lawyers Association, Washington, D.C.  Reprint permission granted.