Breaking News: Latest in the Saga of the Tuomey Case

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On September 30, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina handed down their twenty-five page Order and Opinion, along with their Judgment in the case of the The ItemTuomey Healthcare System of Sumter, S.C. They ruled against Tuomey and in favor of the United States. Their Judgment was “the plaintiff, United States of America ex rel. Michael L. Drakeford, M.D., recover from the defendant, Tuomey d/b/a Tuomey Healthcare System, Inc., the amount of Thirty-Nine Million, Three Hundred Thirteen Thousand, Sixty-Five and 00/100 ($39,313,065.00), plus postjudgment interest at the rate of 10%, along with costs, as well as Two Hundred and Thirty-Seven Million, Four Hundred Fifty-Four Thousand, One Hundred Ninety-Five and 00/100 dollars ($237,454,195.00) on the False Claims Act claims.” This is precisely what the Department of Justice (DOJ) requested in their motion. The total was calculated as the minimum of treble of the $39 million plus the minimum of $5,500 per claim.

Tuomey originally went to trial over whether it violated the Stark Law in its contracts with outside physicians to provide surgery exclusively in its facilities and pay physicians a bonus for productivity. There were actually two trials. In both, Tuomey was found guilty by a jury. The district court’s decision follows an announcement on September 26 that the Tuomey President/CEO Jay Cox and Executive Vice President/COO Gregg Martin will be leaving the hospital’s administrative staff. This in turn followed the South Carolina Attorney General Office’s recent decision that the Board of Trustees members and officers of Tuomey cannot be protected by the hospital from possible fines and penalties should they be found liable in a future lawsuit. They made it clear there is no current reason to protect its officials against the current federal enforcement actions at the hospital.

On October 1, Tuomey filed a notice of appeal. So, the saga continues.

Richard P. Kusserow served as DHHS Inspector General for 11 years. He currently is CEO of Strategic Management Services, LLC (SM), a firm that has assisted more than 3,000 organizations and entities with compliance related matters. The SM sister company, CRC, provides a wide range of compliance tools including sanction-screening.

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Copyright © 2013 Strategic Management Services, LLC. Published with permission.

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  1. […] regarding the details, background, issues, and lessons learned from this case can be found in past blog articles on this […]