Nick Jurkowitz was recently quoted in Jim Parker’s Hospice News article “U.S. Supreme Court May Hear Hospice FCA Case.” The article focuses on a False Claims Act case involving the hospice provider Care Alternatives. Nick comments on how this case, which could be heard before the Supreme Court, may affect hospice providers.
“To allow false claim act liability in a situation where you have reasonable physicians who differ on opinions of treatment or prognosis will undoubtedly send a chilling message to physicians and hospice care organization. Physicians need to be free to exercise their reasonable judgment, even if such a judgment is ultimately wrong, and sometimes 20-20 hindsight may prove it was wrong,” said Nick Jurkowitz, partner at California-based Fenton Law Group. “A ruling such as what occurred in the Court of Appeals in the case, would likely send the message to physicians that your reasonable judgment is no longer sufficient. Now, you must make sure that no other physician would disagree with you. This could unfortunately cause a physician to take a much more conservative approach to hospice care, which could have a detrimental effect on what is best for the patients.”
Nick also provides comment on how much weight amicus briefs hold in court. Today, multiple health care organizations submitted an amicus brief in support of an official review of the Care Alternatives case.
“Amicus briefs, which are briefs filed by non-parties to an appeal, are important additions to the legal briefing that can be critical to the outcome of the court’s decision. In addition to raising arguments and legal theories sometimes not addressed by the actual parties, Amicus briefs also allow the court to analyze real world ramifications of the decision, as many amicus briefs are written by organizations that will be directly impacted by the court’s decision,” Jurkowitz told Hospice News. “Since the Supreme Court only agrees to hear a very small fraction of the cases that seek review before it, amicus briefs, can also persuade the Supreme Court that a case is significant enough to warrant its attention.”
The full article can be found below.