On July 5, 2019, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of a qui tam lawsuit against several chemical manufacturers that set forth a unusual theory of liability: the relator alleged that the manufacturers violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by failing to self-report information about the dangers of their chemicals under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) voluntary Compliance Audit Program.

According to the relator, the manufacturers should have self-disclosed certain information to the EPA, who in turn would have assessed civil penalties under the Toxic Substances Control Act.  By failing to do so, the relator alleged that the defendant manufacturers concealed their obligations to transfer property (the risk information) and money (the unassessed penalties) to the government.


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On August 24, 2016, DOJ announced a $2.95 million settlement with defendants facing FCA liability for allegedly delaying repayment of more than $800,000 in Medicaid overpayments. The settlement amounted to nearly 3.5 times the amount of the improper billings stipulated in the settlement documents.

This is the first FCA settlement involving the Affordable Care Act’s 60-day repayment provision and flows from allegations that the defendants violated the obligation to report and remit overpayments within 60 days of when such payments have been identified. The stipulation accompanying the parties’ settlement of the FCA claims at issue also included language that the defendants “admit[ted], acknowledge[d], and accept[ed] responsibility for” the conduct underlying the government’s allegations regarding the  violation of this obligation.


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On February 11, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule on the reporting and return of overpayments within 60 days, an obligation commonly known as the “60-day rule.” The final CMS rule, which relates to Medicare Part A and Part B only, eases some of the requirements for healthcare providers and suppliers compared to what CMS originally proposed four years ago. Given that the failure to timely report an overpayment can lead to False Claims Act (FCA) exposure, the final rule has significant FCA implications for healthcare providers.

Under the “reverse false claim” provision of the FCA, 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1)(G), liability can exist when a provider or supplier “knowingly conceals or knowingly and improperly avoids or decreases an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the Government.” An “obligation” includes the retention of any overpayment. The Affordable Care Act explicitly states that the 60-day rule is an “obligation” for purposes of the FCA.


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