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October 14, 2021

Owners and executives of Massachusetts mental health provider South Bay Mental Health Center, Inc. have agreed to pay $25 million to resolve claims that they caused the submission of false claims to the state’s Medicaid program, MassHealth, by billing for services provided by unlicensed, unqualified, and improperly supervised staff members in violation of MassHealth regulations. Defendants  H.I.G. Growth Partners, LLC and H.I.G. Capital, LLC will pay $19.95 million and defendants Peter J. Scanlon and Kevin P. Sheehan, who held executive and board positions at relevant entities, will pay $5.05 million.  The case was initiated by the filing of a whistleblower complaint under the Massachusetts False Claims Act.  SBMHC previously agreed to pay $4 million to resolve related charges.  Mass

September 15, 2021

A cardiologist in Florida who allegedly billed Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary procedures has agreed to pay $6.75 million to resolve claims under the False Claims Act.  Between 2013 and 2019, Dr. Ashish Pal allegedly made misrepresentations in patient medical records to justify ablations and vein stent procedures that were not reimbursable under program rules.  Additionally, some of the procedures were later found to have been performed primarily by unqualified ultrasound technicians.  As part of the settlement, Pal and Interventional Cardiology & Vascular Consultants, PLC, will enter in a multiyear integrity agreement and comply with training and reporting requirements, as well as a quarterly claims review by an independent organization.  USAO MDFL

September 3, 2021

A number of South Carolina pain management clinics, drug testing laboratories and other entities associated with chiropractor Daniel McCollum have had default judgments entered against them ordering the payment of $140 million.  The defendant entities, Oaktree Medical Centre P.C., FirstChoice Healthcare P.C., Labsource LLC, Pain Management Associates entities, ProLab LLC, and ProCare Counseling Center LLC, were alleged to have provided illegal financial incentives to providers to induce their referrals of urine drug tests in violation of the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute, and to have submitted false claims to federal healthcare programs for medically unnecessary urine drug testing, steroid injections, opioid prescriptions, and lidocaine ointment prescriptions.  The settlement resolves claims against the entities brought in three separate qui tam actions Donna Rauch, Muriel Calhoun, Brandy Knight, Karen Mathewson and Tracy Hawkins, former employees of pain management clinics owned or operated by McCollum. The government continues to pursue claims against McCollum.  DOJ; USAO SC

August 30, 2021

Northern California healthcare provider Sutter Health and its affiliated entities will pay $90 million to resolve a False Claims Act case initially filed by whistleblower Kathy Ormsby alleging that defendants submitted unsupported diagnosis codes for patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage.  Sutter contracts with Medicare Advantage Organizations to provide care to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries enrolled in their plans, and allegedly caused those MAOs to submit to Medicare inaccurate and invalid diagnosis codes that inflated the risk scores of those beneficiaries and were not supported by the medical records, thereby resulting in overpayments by CMS.  Sutter also allegedly failed to take sufficient corrective action when it became aware of the submission of these unsupported diagnosis codes.  Sutter also entered into a five-year corporate integrity agreement.  Sutter previously entered into a partial settlement of $30 million, which will be credited against the $90 million total settlement.  DOJ; USAO ND Cal

August 27, 2021

John Peter Smith Hospital (JPS) in Texas has agreed to pay more than $3.3 million to resolve a qui tam suit filed by its former Director of Compliance, Erma Lee, which alleged that the hospital routinely applied billing modifiers that essentially double-billed federal healthcare programs for certain aspects of patients’ care.  Even after raising the issue internally, JPS allegedly failed to reimburse payors, prompting Lee to file the case in 2018.  For doing so, Lee will receive over $900,000 of the settlement proceeds.  USAO NDTX

August 26, 2021

Mental health and addiction services provider Connections Community Support Programs, Inc. has consented to the entry of judgment ordering payment of $15.3 million to resolve claims that it billed federal healthcare programs for mental health services performed by individuals without required professional qualification, billed using incorrect procedure codes, and failed to keep proper records regarding controlled substances.  Connections has filed for bankruptcy, and the government recovery will be limited by the availability of funds in the bankruptcy estate.  The settlement resolves claims brought in a qui tam lawsuit by two former Connections employees.  USAO Del

August 25, 2021

A California-based provider of home respiratory services and durable medical equipment has agreed to pay $3.3 million to the United States and States of California and Nevada to settle allegations of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.  The claims against SuperCare Health, Inc. were brought in a 2018 qui tam suit by respiratory therapist Benjamin Martinez, who alleged that the provider billed for non-invasive ventilators (NIVs) that were no longer needed or being used by patients.  CA AG; USAO CDCA

August 19, 2021

Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists agreed to pay $1 million to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims for confirmatory urine drug testing performed without regard to the results of presumptive tests that had been performed. The allegations were first brought in a qui tam lawsuit filed by an whistleblower Omni Healthcare, Inc., which will receive a relator’s share of $150,000 of the settlement.  USAO MA

August 17, 2021

Following a voluntary self-disclosure to authorities, Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois, has agreed to pay $2.82 million to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims for the facility component of medically unnecessary cardiac catheterization procedures.  The federal government will receive $2.6 million of the settlement, with the remainder going to Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.  USAO CD IL

August 9, 2021

The owners of North Carolina compounding pharmacy Wellcare Compouding, David Tsui and Lois Tsui, paid $1.1 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims for payment to the TRICARE program in 2014 and 2015.  The government alleged that Wellcare made improper payments to physicians and “marketers” in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and encouraged medically unnecessary prescriptions consisting of high-margin ingredients in order to maximize the pharmacy’s reimbursement. David Tsui had been convicted of healthcare fraud in 2009 and was excluded from participation in federal healthcare programs; the government alleged that his involvement and ownership was intentionally concealed.  USAO MD NC
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