2015-0126 Healthcare.govLast week, several press outlets, a well-regarded legal blog (albeit one that does not generally focus on Government contracts law/policy), and at least one politician criticized the IRS for the award of a relatively small IT services contract to a company called CGI Federal. CGI was the contractor at the center of the problematic rollout of the healthcare.gov website. Although there were clearly substantial problems with the website development and rollout, some of the criticism of CGI—and the implicit calls for substantial punishment of that contractor—demonstrate a lack of fair consideration of publicly available reports about the sources of the problems with the website and misunderstandings of aspects of procurement law and policy.
Continue Reading Questionable Criticism of a Government Contractor—and Unfounded Calls for Severe Punishment

CMS Caregiver PicNursing home care and costs—and their connection to Medicare—are issues that sporadically receive media attention and, last weekend, were the subjects of a large expose and op-ed in the NY Times. A few days before those articles were published, the Seventh Circuit issued its anticipated decision in US ex rel. Absher v. Momence Meadows Nursing Center, which addresses nursing home care and Medicare payments in a context familiar to readers of this blog: the False Claims Act. In a decision of interest to nursing home and other healthcare providers—as well as other types of service providers to the federal Government—the appeals court reversed a dangerously expansive trial court interpretation of the “worthless services” theory of FCA liability. The Seventh Circuit’s decision leaves some important questions for another day, but it provides some good news for businesses contracting with the Government.
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Pares Back Potential “Worthless Services” FCA Claims