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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ind. Courts - "Medical equipment provider settles with government"

Matt Thacker reports in the Jeffersonville News & Tribune in a long story:

JEFFERSONVILLE — The U.S. Attorney and Indiana Attorney General have reached an agreement with a Louisville company accused of using unlicensed personnel to set up medical equipment in Southern Indiana homes.

Premier Home Care agreed to pay $578,820 to the United States and $21,180 to Indiana, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Joseph Hogsett said at a press conference Wednesday. * * *

“[Premier] was accused of falsely certifying that licensed technicians had provided, installed or set up continuous positive airway pressure respiratory machines,” Hogsett said.

In 2008, a former Premier employee filed a sealed complaint, or a “whistleblower” lawsuit, in U.S. District Court in New Albany. Another complaint was filed in Clark County Superior Court No. 2.

The complaint alleged Premier violated the False Claims Act by falsely certifying it was in compliance with state licensure requirements, while it actually used unlicensed personnel to set up continuous positive air pressure and bi-level positive airway pressure respiratory machines.

The complaint further alleged Premier’s claims for payment to Medicare and Medicaid were false because the services were rendered by unqualified personnel. The Indiana Board of Respiratory Care issues licenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A company cannot bill for equipment unless it is using licensed technicians. * * *

Supervising Deputy Attorney General Steve Hunt touted the cooperation between state agencies and the courage of the whistleblower, Michael Kaiser. The Indiana “whistleblower law” rewards people who report fraud on a government agency. They are entitled to between 15 percent and 25 percent of the government’s recovery.

Kaiser received about $108,000 from the total settlement.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 20, 2011 04:35 PM
Posted to Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions