Florida judge tosses case alleging Epic’s billing software caused fraudulent claims

A district court judge in Florida dismissed a lawsuit against Epic claiming the company’s software double-billed the government for anesthesia services.

Geraldine Petrowski, a former compliance review specialist at WakeMed Health, filed the complaint in 2015, alleging Epic’s billing software, which is used by hospitals across the country, triggered “hundreds of millions of dollars” in fraudulent payments from Medicare and Medicaid. The complaint was unsealed in November, months after the Department of Justice declined to join the case.  

RELATED: Whistleblower lawsuit claims Epic caused hundreds of hospitals to double-bill anesthesia services

In his dismissal, U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. chastised the whistleblower complaint, arguing that Petrowski merely parroted language in the False Claims Act and failed to outline any specific or credible allegations that Epic caused hospitals to submit fraudulent claims. 

Moody noted that Petrowski did not seek to amend her complaint or add any clarifying allegations even after Epic moved to dismiss the claims in December

“Petrowski alleges only that Epic’s software could be used in such a way that would allow its hospital customers to generate bills that cause the Medicare program to double pay for certain aspects of professional anesthesia services,” Moody wrote in his decision, echoing an argument made by Epic’s attorneys. “This is woefully deficient because it is based on pure speculation.”

An appeal was currently under review, Petrowski’s attorney David J. Linesch said in an email to FierceHealthcare.

“As we previously stated, the plaintiff’s assertions represented a fundamental misunderstanding of how claims software works," Epic spokesperson Meghan Roh said in an emailed statement. "We are pleased the court dismissed this case."