April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments
On April 23, the Department of Justice announced that Amedisys, Inc., and its affiliates have paid $150 million to settle civil charges – initially brought by seven separate whistleblower actions – that the company submitted false claims to Medicare. According to DOJ’s press release:
Amedisys Inc. and its affiliates (Amedisys) have agreed to pay $150 million to the federal government to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by submitting false home healthcare billings to the Medicare program, the Department of Justice announced today. Amedisys, a Louisiana-based for-profit company, is one of the nation’s largest providers of home health services and operates in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
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The settlement announced today resolves allegations that, between 2008 and 2010, certain Amedisys offices improperly billed Medicare for ineligible patients and services. Amedisys allegedly billed Medicare for nursing and therapy services that were medically unnecessary or provided to patients who were not homebound, and otherwise misrepresented patients’ conditions to increase its Medicare payments. These billing violations were the alleged result of management pressure on nurses and therapists to provide care based on the financial benefits to Amedisys, rather than the needs of patients.
Additionally, this settlement resolves certain allegations that Amedisys maintained improper financial relationships with referring physicians. The Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Statute restrict the financial relationships that home healthcare providers may have with doctors who refer patients to them. The United States alleged that Amedisys’ financial relationship with a private oncology practice in Georgia – whereby Amedisys employees provided patient care coordination services to the oncology practice at below-market prices – violated statutory requirements.
The government announced that the relators will share $26 million (a 17.3% relators’ share).