Anesthesia Associates of KC avoids $1 billion claim
The 8th U.S. Court of Anesthesia Associates of KC avoids $1 billion claimAppeals affirmed a lower court ruling that threw out a whistleblower case seeking $1 billion in damages against Anesthesia Associates of Kansas City.
The claimant had accused Anesthesia Associates of submitting false claims for reimbursement to government health care programs such as Medicare. The claimant argued that the anesthesiologists weren’t properly documenting their participation during the time when a patient is recovering from anesthesia, called the emergence period.
U.S. District Judge David Gregory Kays of the Western District of Missouri ruled in June 2015 that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the company failed to comply with government regulations because legislation never has expressly defined the scope of the emergence period from anesthesia. The judge also ruled that allegations of systematic insufficient documentation were without merit because an overwhelming majority of patient files for Anesthesia Associates contained the documentation.
The case was filed by the estate of John Donegan, on behalf of the United States, in a legal maneuver known as qui tam under the False Claims Act, which allows whistleblowers to receive part of any penalty imposed. The appeals court affirmed the ruling in full.