Whistleblower Angela Ruckh plans to appeal an overturned False Claims verdict that likely cost her upward of $50 million.
Bloomberg News reported Monday that Ruckh notified the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that she will appeal the most recent decision in her case against Consulate Health Care, which she accused of illegally upcoding Medicare claims for patient therapy services.
In January, a Florida judge tossed a $347 million verdict against the nursing home operator, saying there wasn’t evidence the government would have withheld payment if aware of the billing violations later brought by Ruckh.
A one-time employee, Ruckh claimed Consulate, previously operating as La Vie Rehab, overcharged Medicare and Medicaid by inflating therapy claims.
A 2017 jury verdict led to $115 million in Medicare and Medicaid damages, tripled under provisions of the False Claims Act, and a minimum penalty of $5,500 for each of the 446 cited false claims.
Ruckh stood to make more than $50 million as the whistleblower.
A spokesman for Consulate told McKnight’s on Monday that the company had no comment on the latest development.
The judge’s ruling earlier this year was a major victory for the company, which has been under major scrutiny over quality of care at its Florida facilities. Others in the profession also hailed it as a good sign.
Once on the hook for $347 million, Consulate is one of several companies that has found relief through a relatively new judicial standard known as the Escobar decision. Since 2016, courts have ruled that government payments that continued after charges of misconduct are considered signs of immateriality.
Just last month, however, the Supreme Court asked for input from the Trump administration’s head lawyer, a sign it may be looking to revisit Escobar.