Monday, December 31, 2001

ATLANTA - The lawyers representing a whistleblower in a case against Lincare, American HomePatient and Rotech took what could be their last shot at trying to squeeze some money out of the nationals.

Kirk S. Corsello's attorney's presented oral arguments Nov. 6 in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals as to why the case should move forward. The oral arguments were a last ditch effort to continue the case, which had already been thrown out on the appeals level earlier this year.

Corsello claims that Lincare, American HomePatient and Rotech illegally gave cash, sports tickets, free equipment and paid medical director ships to physicians in exchange for referrals.

Lower courts didn't buy it, ruling Corsello failed to provide details that supported his claims. Corsello's attorney, Mike Bothwell, disagrees. He claims the lower courts required information that'd be impossible to gather.

"If you need to present the date and time and invoice number of the claim, you are going to shut down whistleblowing," Bothwell said. "Unless you were the one defrauding the federal government, you are not going to have access to that."

During the oral-argument phase, the court has three choices: rule against Corsello and end the case; delay a decision until Rotech's parent company, Integrated Health Services, resolves its bankruptcy problems; rule in Corsello's favor and send the case back to a lower court. HME