Supreme Court to determine federal government’s right to dismiss whistleblower cases

The Supreme Court will hear a case on whether the federal government has the authority to dismiss a False Claims Act case after declining to take action.

In August 2019, the Department of Justice dismissed a whistleblower case filed in 2012 by Dr. Jesse Polansky, a former employee of UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Executive Health Resources, that alleged hospital billing fraud. Polansky claimed his employer was billing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for inpatient admissions that were outpatient visits to receive higher reimbursements.

The Justice Department said proceeding with the case would be too costly. The dismissal was approved by U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson and upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. On Tuesday, the high court agreed to hear the case.

Circuit courts have been divided over what grounds the government can use to dismiss False Claims Act cases. Polansky in January filed a petition for the Supreme Court to hear the case, citing that division.

“The existence of a ‘deeply entrenched’ split is undisputed. The circuits are now divided a staggering four different ways, with other judges entertaining still alternative approaches,” the petition reads.

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Lawyers for Polansky and Executive Health Resources could not be reached for comment, nor could the Justice Department.

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