Bioethics Blogs

False Claims Act Liability for Not Honoring Advance Directive

Nancy Chase is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who worked for Florida’s LifePath Hospice from 1992 till late 2012.  Six years ago, she filed a federal false claims act case against her former employer arguing that it defrauded the government by submitting Medicare claims for hospice care they did not provide or for hospice care they provided to patients who were ineligible for that care.  No. 8:10-cv-01061-JSM-TGW (M.D. Fla.) 

Throughout her complaint, Chase alleges the existence of widespread medical abuses committed by hospice-care and other medical providers.  But she failed to allege the connection between those abuses and the existence of false claims submitted to the government for payment.  So, this week, the court dismiss the fourth amended complaint with prejudice.

While this complaint was not drafted with the necessary specificity, I expect more to make the following claim that Chase made.  

“In 2009 . . . LifePath  demoted Ms. Chase to the position of Social Services Speciaiist, a line counselor position, because she raised ethical issues . . . .  In February 2010, LifePath discharged Ms. Chase from the Ethics Committee and the IDG Committee after she raised ethical violations by CHS, specifically for not honoring a patient’s living will by utilizing a feeding tube to artificially keep the patient alive when the patient had expressly requested that he not be kept alive by artificial means.”

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.