Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 23, 2014
Amedisys, Inc. (Amedisys) has agreed to pay $150 million to the federal government to settle claims for violating the false claims act and anti-kickback laws through “improper financial relationships and false billing” according to Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The kickback charges were brought by Natalie Raven, a nurse, and pharmacist Christy Curtis, two Atlanta-area healthcare professionals, and accounted for $5.7 million of the overall settlement. In court documents, Raven and Curtis charged Amedisys with violating the Anti-Kickback Statute and other federal laws by paying kickbacks disguised as salary and benefits in exchange for patient referrals. Raven and Curtis also accused Amedisys of demanding that referring physicians pad the number of visits to increase Amedisys’ Medicare payments.
Announcing today’s settlement, the Department of Justice noted: “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 two whistle blowers will receive nearly $1 Million dollars as their statutory reward for reporting this conduct to the United States and the Department of Justice and the balance of the proceeds, nearly $4.7 Million dollars, will be returned to the taxpayers.
Amedisys is a national home health company with offices throughout the South and the rest of the nation as well.
“These two brave women risked their jobs and careers to object to and report kickbacks and Medicare fraud and deserve recognition for their efforts to return money taken from the taxpayers” said their attorney, Louis J. Cohen.
The whistle blowers were represented by Louis J. Cohen, of Louis J. Cohen, a Professional Corporation, an Agoura Hills, California firm with a nationwide whistle blower practice representing whistle blowers in cases under the False Claims Act and employees retaliated against for reporting fraud or refusing to engage in illegal conduct. Serving as co-counsel was G. Mark Simpson of the Simpson Law Firm of Georgia.
The case is captioned United States ex rel. Natalie Raven et al. v. Amedisys, Inc. et al., 11-cv-0994 (N.D. Ga.)
For inquiries please contact:
Louis J. Cohen
Office (818) 889-5777, Cell (818) 203-6009
email: lcohen(dot)taf(dot)org; louiscohen(at)msn(dot)com
firm website: http://www.louiscohenlaw.com