The Hesch Firm Wins $8 Million Settlement for Whistleblower and US Government in Medicare Fraud Case
The Hesch Firm won an $8 million settlement on behalf of a whistleblower and the U.S. Government in a
Medicare Fraud case against a Georgia based hospital and the whistleblower received a reward exceeding
$2 million under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act
Online PR News – 26-July-2013 – The Hesch Firm, LLC is pleased to announce that an $8 million settlement
was finalized today in a false claims act qui tam case involving Medicare fraud allegedly committed by a
Georgia-based hospital and its Louisiana-based management company. In June of 2009, The Hesch Firm’s
client, Darlene Tucker, filed a qui tam action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
Texas (United States ex rel. Darlene Tucker v. CHRISTUS Health et al., Civil Action Number 04:09-1819)
alleging that the Defendants billed Medicare for numerous fraudulent activities.
Additional parties to the case include the United States acting through the United States Department of
Justice and on behalf of the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Defendants in the case included Southern Crescent Hospital for Specialty Care, Inc., a long-term, acute
care hospital located in Georgia, and Dubuis Health System, Inc., a Louisiana corporation that provides
management and operational assistance to Southern Crescent and other long-term acute care hospitals.
Dubuis Health Systems, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CHRISTUS Health. Darlene Tucker was
employed by CHRISTUS and Dubuis as a charge nurse for Southern Crescent Hospital.
The Hesch Firm regularly represents whistleblowers in cases of fraud involving Medicare, Medicaid, the
military, the IRS, and other federal and state agencies. “Having been involved in fighting fraud against the
government for the past 22 years, first as a Department of Justice civil prosecutor and more recently
representing whistleblowers, it is extremely gratifying to see justice served. The Hesch Firm is thrilled to have
served a role helping Darlene Tucker pursue a False Claims Act claim on behalf of the government and,
ultimately, reach a settlement for our client and the United States,” stated attorney Joel D. Hesch.
The complaints filed by The Hesch Firm on behalf of Ms. Tucker alleged that the Defendants participated in
the following fraudulent conduct:
1. Knowingly extended patient stays at long term care hospitals (LTCH) beyond the time considered to be
medically necessary in order to increase reimbursement amounts for the patients from federally funded
2. Knowingly extended patient stays at Southern Crescent beyond the time considered to be medically
necessary in an effort to increase the average length of stay for all patients in order to maintain the facility’s
classification as an LTCH and the higher reimbursement level;
3. Knowingly admitted patients who did not qualify for LTCH admission; and
4. Knowingly delayed the performance of patient procedures in order to increase billings.
While the settlement agreement specifies that it is neither an admission of liability by the Defendants nor a
concession by the Government that its claims are not well-founded, the Defendants agreed to pay to the
United States $8 million, of which a little over $2 million will be paid to the Relator, Darlene Tucker, for
reporting fraud against the government. In addition, the Defendants agreed to pay the Relator’s attorneys
fees and expenses.
Plaintiff Darlene Tucker was represented by Joel D. Hesch of The Hesch Firm LLC and co-counsel Gregory
M. Utter, Joseph M. Callow, Jr., and Danielle M. D’Addesa of Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL.
Joel Hesch, Esq.
3540 Ridgecroft Drive