Judge Dismisses False Claims Suit Against Kernan Hospital in Baltimore

A judge has dismissed a false claims lawsuit against Kernan Hospital in Baltimore that alleged the orthopedic and rehabilitation facility systematically overbilled federal health programs for a severe form of malnutrition.

The government filed the suit in October 2011, alleging Kernan systematically increased the complexity of its case mix between 2005 and 2009 to boost Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE reimbursement. Specifically, the government claimed the hospital fraudulently reported kwashiorkor, a form of severe malnutrition, as secondary diagnoses to make its case mix seem more complicated.

Kernan filed two separate motions to dismiss the lawsuit. On July 30, U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett ruled that the government's complaint "utterly fails to link this scheme with any claims actually submitted."

The suit was dismissed without prejudice, meaning the plaintiff may file another suit on the same claim.

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