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Document Type

Comments

Abstract

In 2020, in United States ex rel. Druding v. Care Alternatives, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit advanced a broad interpretation of “falsity” under the federal False Claims Act (FCA) to allow conflicting medical opinions on a patient’s medical prognosis as evidence of false certification for hospice eligibility. In doing so, the court rejected a blanket rule that clinical judgments are immune from legal challenge and dismissed an “objective falsehood” requirement because it inappropriately conflated elements of the statute. The holding has important implications in industries with high risk for fraud, particularly the for-profit hospice industry that contracts with Medicare. This Comment argues that the Third Circuit’s liberalization of the falsity element aligns with congressional intent to create broad FCA liability for any attempt to defraud the government. Moreover, the Third Circuit’s approach incentivizes entities that receive federal funding to strengthen internal oversight and compliance programs.

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