Former hospital chain CEO wins nearly $1M in fees in whistleblower case

The former CEO of a hospital chain owned by Health Management Associates is entitled to $959,713 in attorneys' fees and expenses after his complaint against HMA helped the federal government secure a more than $260 million settlement, according to Bloomberg Law

Bradley Nurkin filed suit in 2011 under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provision of the False Claims Act, and the government intervened in the case in December 2013. The suit alleged Naples, Fla.-based HMA paid kickbacks for physician referrals and billed for inpatient services that should have been billed as observation or outpatient cases. The government secured a $262 million settlement with HMA in 2018. 

A Florida federal court ruled Feb. 8 that Mr. Nurkin's fee recovery was proper under the lodestar method for calculating reasonable billing rates. The $959,713 in fees fell short of the $12 million Mr. Nurkin had requested under a contingency methodology. The court said the $12 million would have been grossly excessive, and the contingency methodology isn't available under the False Claims Act, according to the report. 

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