CHS owes fees in $98M fraud case, court rules

Whistleblowers who helped the federal government reach a $98 million false claims settlement with Community Health Systems in 2014 can recover attorneys fees from the Franklin, Tenn.-based hospital operator, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 25, according to Bloomberg Law

The seven whistleblowers entitled to receive attorneys fees collaborated with federal prosecutors in a case against CHS over alleged improper hospital admissions. 

CHS argued the attorneys fees were barred by the False Claims Act's first-to-file and public disclosure rules, which preclude lawsuits based on information that has already been disclosed and those related to an existing whistleblower suit. 

In reversing a decision by a Tennessee district court, the appellate court said the whistleblowers were entitled to attorneys fees because they each uncovered independent parts of a broad-reaching fraud case. Allowing the whistleblowers to recover fees encourages other whistleblowers to help the government in similar cases, the court said, according to Bloomberg Law

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