HEALTH CARE ALERT: U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii Grants Summary Judgment and Dismisses False Claims Action Against Hawaii Pacific Health

    15 May 2008

    The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii granted summary judgment and dismissed a False Claims action, initiated by two "whistleblowers," against Patton Boggs client, Hawaii Pacific Health (HPH). U.S. ex rel. Woodruff v. Hawaii Pacific Health, Slip Copy, 2008 WL 1932303 (D. Haw. May 2, 2008). Two former employee-physicians had alleged that HPH and its subsidiary hospital and physician group submitted false hospital billing claims to Hawaii Medicaid for procedures performed by nurse practitioners. The two physicians alleged that the nurses providing services were unlicensed and that the claims forms falsely implied that the services were performed by licensed personnel, and that physicians had either performed the procedures or supervised the nurses. Harry Silver and Susan Baldwin Hendrix persuaded the court that the nurses were properly licensed and certified under Hawaii law, and that the claim forms did not falsely imply that physicians listed on the forms either performed the procedures or directly supervised the nurse practitioners. The court also ruled that quality-of-care standards, such as credentialing of nurse practitioners, should not be enforced through the False Claims Act.