A Mississippi medical equipment company has agreed to pay $1.8 million to settle claims in a 2009 whistle blower lawsuit for improperly billing Medicare. The company is accused of cheating the government insurance groups out of money for the delivery of diabetic supplies to patients, federal officials announced.
The medical equipment company, based in Southern Mississippi, in an agreement filed in U.S. District Court, has agreed to settle the False Claims Act lawsuit brought by two former employees, one of whom was a former reimbursement specialist for that company.
According to her lawsuit, soon after she was hired in 2007, she reported to the company’s management that the way in which the company was handling insurance reimbursement was fraudulent and she suggested they repay the money. The company ignored her requests, according to the lawsuit. She was fired in 2009.
According to statements from the U.S. attorneys office, from the period of September 2006 through May 2009, the company submitted false claims to Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for blood glucose monitoring strips and lancets that either were for more or different supplies than the company had actually shipped, or for more supplies than had been ordered, and/or lacked supporting documentation for the supplies.
After the former insurance reimbursement specialist (whistle blower) reported problems to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the company made a voluntary repayment of $236,204 in July 2009. Under the agreement announced, the company agreed to repay an additional $1,771,522.
As a condition of the settlement, the company is also required to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, under which the company will be monitored for about 5 years to ensure that they comply with all federal healthcare rules in the future.
In the agreement, the company does not make an admission that it is liable.
Under the False Claims Act the whistle blowers can receive between 15 and 25 percent of the money recovered in a case.
When these companies bilk our government programs, such as Medicare, it affects all of us, and in the end, we wind up paying. If these two employees were not brave enough to come forward, the government would have been out almost $2 million.
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