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Improper Medical Personnel

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Catch of the Week: Private Equity Firm and Former Executives of a Mental Health Center Reach $25 Million Medicaid Settlement

Posted  10/15/21
dollar bill with Medicaid text ripped through
In recent years there has been a proliferation of private equity firms taking oversight of healthcare entities. These private equity firms have increased their exposure to False Claims Act liability by playing active roles in the operation of healthcare entities, and multiple settlements have been reached over the last two years (on kickbacks and promotion of unapproved use of drug-device systems on pediatric...

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

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 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

Catch of the Week: EEG Testing Company and Private-Investment Company to Pay $15.3M for Kickback and False-Billing Allegations

Posted  07/23/21
man holding money in hand and another hand with one finger over mouth
Whistleblowers came forward with six False Claims Act actions against a national EEG testing company and an investment company for allegedly paying kickbacks and falsely billing government healthcare programs.  Texas-based provider Alliance Family of Companies (now Stratus) and private investor Ancor Holdings together will pay $15.3 million to resolve the cases. For their actions in coming forward, two...

July 2, 2021

Select Medical Corporation (SMC) and Encore GC Acquisition LLL have agreed to pay $8.4 million to settle allegations that contract rehabilitation therapy provider Select Medical Rehabilitation Services Inc. (SMRS)—a previous subsidiary of SMC and current subsidiary of Encore—violated the False Claims Act.  According to former SMRS employee Melissa Vail, SMRS’s desire to maximize profits led it to provide medically unnecessary, unreasonable, and unskilled therapy services, and subsequently caused twelve skilled nursing facilities in the New York and New Jersey area to submit false claims to Medicare over a six-year period.  USAO NJ

May 26, 2021

HEAG Pain Management Center, P.A. (HEAG) and its owner, Dr. Kwadwo Gyarteng-Dakwa (Dr. Dakwa), have agreed to pay $500,000 to settle allegations of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.  According to the government, the defendants knowingly submitted or caused the submission of claims for medically unnecessary diagnostic testing between 2011 and 2016.  AG NC; USAO MDNC

May 21, 2021

SavaSeniorCare LLC and related entities (“Sava”) will pay $11.2 million, plus potentially more pursuant to an “ability-to-pay” settlement, to resolve allegations that Sava violated the False Claims Act by causing its skilled nursing facilities to bill Medicare for rehabilitation therapy services that were not reasonable, necessary, or skilled, and that Sava billed the Medicare and Medicaid programs for grossly substandard (i.e., “worthless”) skilled nursing services.  The settlement stems from four separate qui tam complaints filed by whistleblowers Rita Hayward, Trammel Kukoyi, Terrence Scott, James Thornton, and Barbara Roberts, who will share an undisclosed portion of the government’s recovery.  In 2015, the United States intervened in the litigation and filed a consolidated False Claims Act complaint, alleging inter alia that Sava had exerted significant pressure on its skilled nursing facilities to meet unrealistic corporate targets for the highest Medicare reimbursement rates without regard to patients’ actual clinical needs, and improperly delayed the discharge of patients from its facilities in order to increase billings.  Sava will enter into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement as part of the settlement.  DOJ

December 4, 2020

Joint Active Systems, Inc. (JAS), a durable medical equipment manufacturer, and New England Orthotics & Prosthetics, LLP (NEOPS) have agreed to pay $1.59 million and $90,000 respectively to resolve allegations of defrauding multiple federal healthcare programsincluding TRICARE, Medicare, and Medicaid programs in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Islandthrough a variety of fraudulent schemes.  According to a qui tam suit filed by two former NEOPS employees, JAS allegedly recruited NEOPS to bill Medicare and Medicaid for custom-fabricated orthotics that were not custom-fabricated orthotics, nor medically necessary, and falsely claim that JAS-affiliated sales representatives were properly trained to treat patients during fittings.  Additionally, JAS allegedly overcharged the VA for its devices by as much as 300%.  For blowing the whistle on these fraud schemes, the whistleblowers will receive a 17% share of the settlement proceeds.  USAO MA
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