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Home Health and Hospice

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Press Round-Up: Settlement in Visiting Nurse Service of New York Case Described as Groundbreaking

Posted  07/2/20
Newsboy hawking paper
The record-setting $57 million settlement in U.S. ex rel. Lacey v. Visiting Nurse Service of New York, a False Claims Act case brought by Constantine Cannon client Edward Lacey, received extensive coverage in the media, with stories noting that the wrongdoing alleged was “pervasive” in the home health industry. As a whistleblower, Lacey alleged that home health agency VNSNY failed to adhere to the plans of care...

Visiting Nurse Service of New York Settles Whistleblower Case Brought by Constantine Cannon Client for $57 Million

Posted  06/26/20
hand holding hospice patients hand
Constantine Cannon is pleased to announce a $57 million settlement of the False Claims Act lawsuit its whistleblower client brought against the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY).  VNSNY is the largest not-for-profit home health care agency in the country, serving roughly 150,000 patients a year in New York, most of whom are elderly and/or disabled. The whistleblower, Edward Lacey, was an executive at...

“Objective Falsity” Is Not Required Under the False Claims Act: A Legally False Opinion May Suffice

Posted  03/6/20
Gavel close-up
In a significant win for whistleblowers, a federal appellate court held this week that, in order to determine liability under the False Claims Act, a whistleblower need not prove that a claim is “objectively” false.  Instead, the Court held that, consistent with common law, a claim can be false under the FCA if based not on objectively verifiable facts, but on non-compliance with statutory or regulatory...

March 4, 2020

STG Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. and senior executives Paschal Gilley and Mathew Gilley have agreed to resolve fraud allegations by paying $1.75 million.  The case against the hospice was launched by two former employees, Serita Samuel and Miranda Eskridge, who alleged in a qui tam suit that STG Healthcare submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid that arose from illegal payments to so-called back-up medical directors, and that were on behalf of patients who were not terminally ill and thus ineligible for palliative care.  GA AG; USAO NDGA

Catch of the Week: Guardian Elder Care

Posted  02/21/20
person holding elder's hand
This week's DOJ Catch of the Week goes to Guardian Elder Care.  On Wednesday, the operator of more than 50 nursing homes in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia agreed to pay roughly $15.5 million to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act by billing the government -- Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program -- for medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services.  According to...

February 19, 2020

Guardian Elder Care Holdings, Inc. has agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle claims of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.  In a qui tam suit filed in 2015, whistleblowers Philippa Krauss and Julie White alleged that from 2011 to 2017, the Pennsylvania-based nursing home chain pressured its therapists to provide medically unnecessary rehabilitation to patients suffering from dementia or dying in hospice care in order to boost its profits.  During the subsequent government investigation, Guardian Elder Care self-disclosed that it had also billed federal healthcare programs for services performed by two excluded individuals.  As part of the settlement, Guardian Elder Care has entered into a chain-wide Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services, and Krauss and White will split a $2.8 million relator's share.  USAO EDPA; USAO WDPA

February 6, 2020

A patient recruiter in Kentucky has been sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to pay or forfeit over $1.2 million in total for accepting more than $1 million in kickbacks from home health agencies in exchange for providing information about Medicare beneficiaries.  The owner of Trumbo Consulting Agency in Virginia, Dominic Trumbo recruited and paid others to recruit over 4,000 Medicare beneficiaries for home health services by offering incentives to get them to sign up.  Trumbo then sold the information to home health agencies around the country in exchange for kickbacks, then created fake contracts and invoices to conceal the fraud from Medicare.  DOJ

December 20, 2019

Florida residents and married couple Rodolfo Pichardo and Marta Pichardo were sentenced to 15 years and 8 years, respectively, following earlier guilty pleas to healthcare fraud and wire fraud.  Defendants were also ordered to pay over $34 million in restitution. The Pichardos ran a network of home health agencies, pharmacies, and therapy staffing companies, that submitted more than $38 million in false claims to Medicare.  Defendants paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and medical clinics for patient referrals.  USAO SD FL

December 17, 2019

Miracle Home Care, Inc. and its owner, Shashicka Tyre-Hill, have together been ordered to pay more than $10 million following judgment in an action under the False Claims Act finding that defendants defrauded Georgia’s Medicaid program.  In a civil complaint filed in July 2018, the federal government and State of Georgia alleged that Miracle Home Care submitted thousands of fraudulent reimbursement claims for medically unnecessary transportation and health services.  USAO SDGA

November 13, 2019

The Louisiana Department of Health, which manages Louisiana’s Medicaid program, will pay $13.42 million to the federal government to resolve allegations that the state submitted false claims for federal share reimbursement of state Medicaid expenditures for long-term nursing care and hospice care.  The federal government alleged that in anticipation of a reduction in federal payments for such services, the state agency directed its healthcare contractor, Molina Medical Solutions, to pre-bill for nursing home and hospice services in order to receive funds at the existing higher rates.   DOJ
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