Premier Home Care, a Durable Medical Equipment company operating in Indiana and Kentucky, agreed to pay a $578,820 settlement with the United States Department of Justice and the State of Indiana in a Whistleblower action alleging violations of the False Claims Act.
In 2008, a former employee filed suit against Premier under seal alleging that the company was not using licensed respiratory therapists to set up patients with CPAP and BiPAP. Indiana law is broad enough to include CPAP set-up's in the definition of "respiratory care." Only persons licensed as respiratory therapists in the state of Indiana are permitted to perform respiratory care services under Indiana law.
A joint investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice and the Indiana Attorney General's office ensued. The complaint alleged that Premier violated the False Claims Act by certifying to Medicare that it was in compliance with Indiana's respiratory therapy law when it used unlicensed personnel to set-up CPAP and BiPAP.
The False Claims Act allows for civil recoveries of up to three times the amount of actual damages, and allows whistleblowers to collect up to 25% of the award. Premier agreed to settle its suit for $578,820 to the United States and $21,180 to the State of Indiana, an amount representing more than twice the estimated damages to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
You can access the Department of Justice's Press Release story at: http://www.justice.gov/usao/ins/press_releases/Pressrelease11/Premier.20111019.pdf.
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