DOJ Catch Of The Week -- Nashville Pharmacy Services
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team
This week’s Department of Justice “Catch of the Week” goes to Nashville Pharmacy Services, LLC, and its majority owner Kevin Hartman. On Tuesday, Mr. Hartman and his Nashville-based pharmacy that specializes in dispensing HIV and AIDS-related medications agreed to pay up to $7.8 million to settle charges they overbilled Medicare and TennCare for pharmacy services. Click here for DOJ press release.
Specifically, the government claimed Nashville Pharmacy Services automatically refilled medications without a request from the beneficiary or their physician; improperly waived TennCare and Medicare co-payments without an individualized assessment of ability to pay; improperly used pharmaceutical manufacturers’ co-payment cards to pay the co-payments of Medicare beneficiaries; billed for medications dispensed after the deaths of certain beneficiaries; and billed for medications that lacked a valid prescription.
In announcing the settlement, U.S. Attorney David Rivera stressed that “pursuing individuals and corporations who engage in healthcare fraud remains a top priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.” Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III echoed this sentiment with his office’s stated commitment to “pursuing those who knowingly take advantage of the [healthcare] system [which] serves as a deterrent and helps protect funding for our most vulnerable citizens.”
The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Marsha McCullough, a former Nashville Pharmacy order entry technician, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. She will receive a whistleblower award of 18 percent of the government’s recovery which could amount to $1.4 million.