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Provider Fraud

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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

July 23, 2021

Alabama non-profit SpectraCare Health Systems, Inc., which provides services including developmental disability services, intermediate care medical services, and behavioral health services, agreed to pay $1 million to resolve claims first brought in a whistleblower action alleging that the provider improperly billed Alabama Medicaid and failed to return overpayments to the Alabama Medicaid Agency.  The defendant was alleged to have submitted false claims including claims without correct and complete documentation, and duplicate claims, and to have knowingly retained payments it received to which it was not entitled.  The settlement will be split between the federal government and the Alabama Medicaid Agency, with the whistleblower receiving 19% of the federal recovery.  USAO MD AL

July 20, 2021

Rheumatologist Enrico Arguelles and his practice, Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Billings, Montana, agreed to pay $1.27 million and relinquish Medicare claims for $802,000 in settlement of claims that they improperly billed for MRI scans and patient visits, and billed for biologic infusions such as Remicade where the treatment was not medically necessary.  USAO MT

July 19, 2021

Prime Healthcare Services, one of the largest hospital systems in the nation, its founder and CEO Dr. Prem Reddy, and interventional cardiologist Dr. Siva Arunasalam have agreed to pay $37.5 million to resolve two suits filed by former executive Martin Mansukhani, and former employees Marsha Arnold and Joseph Hill.  In violation of the federal and California False Claims Acts, certain Prime hospitals had allegedly submitted inflated invoices to Medi-Cal and other government health programs, or submitted claims to Medi-Cal and Medicare under Arunasalam’s provider number for services provided by an excluded physician.  Additionally, in acquiring Arunasalam’s physician practice and surgery center, Prime allegedly paid above fair market value for referrals from Arunasalam to one of their hospitals.  For being the first to file, one of the whistleblowers, Mansukhani, will receive a relator’s share of nearly $10 million.  CA AG; USAO CDCA

July 16, 2021

Florida Neurological Center, LLC and its owner Dr. Lance Kim have agreed to settle a whistleblower-brought suit and pay $800,000 to resolve allegations of defrauding Medicare.  The qui tam suit by Michael Singbush, Andrea Herrera, and Harvey Kessler Meyer, IV alleged that Dr. Kim prescribed medically unnecessary prescription drugs, which cost Medicare $35,000 each time it was prescribed.  For their role in the successful enforcement action, the whistleblowers will share in a $144,000 award.  USAO MDFL

June 28, 2021

Surgical Care Affiliates, LLC and Orlando Center for Outpatient Surgery, LP have agreed to pay $3.4 million to resolve a whistleblower’s allegations that they billed Medicare and TRICARE for medically unnecessary kidney stone procedures.  The centers also engaged in an illegal kickback arrangement whereby urologist Dr. Patrick Hunter performed lithotripsy procedures in exchange for per-procedure payments from the Orlando Center.  For bringing a successful action, whistleblower Scott Thompson will receive a relator’s share of $748,000 from the settlement with SCA and the Orlando Center.  USAO MDFL

July 2, 2021

An Ohio-based hospital system that has since been acquired by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation has agreed to pay over $21 million to resolve alleged violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, Physician Self-Referral Law, and False Claims Act.  Between 2010 and 2016, Akron General Health System (AGHS) allegedly paid area physician groups far above fair market value in order to induce referrals, then submitted claims arising from those illegal referrals to federal healthcare programs.  The settlement resolves a qui tam suit brought forth by former internal audit director at AGHS, Beverly Brouse, and Ethical Solutions LLC.  DOJ

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
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