Deaconess Home Health, Inc. (formerly known as Outreach Home Health) and its owner, Lazarus Bonilla, agreed to pay $3,724,000 to resolve charges they violated the False Claims Act through the false billing of personal care worker services to the Wisconsin Medicaid Program. Specifically, the defendants (1) intentionally recruited patients for personal care services without regards to whether the services were medically necessary; (2) instructed nurses employed by Deaconess to routinely inflate, without regard to medical necessity, the assessment of the patient that was provided to the Medicaid program; (3) failed to conduct required supervisory visits to ensure that services were in fact being provided, that services continued to be medically necessary, and that any services provided were appropriate for the needs of the patient; and (4) hired physicians to act as medical directors to sign plans of care for patients on whom they had not completed a physical examination. The allegations first arose in three whistleblower lawsuits filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Two of the whistleblowers are former employees of Deaconess. The whistleblowers collectively will receive a whistleblower award of approximately $600,000. (DOJ (EDWI)
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