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Whistleblowers Recover $122,500 in False Claims Act Settlement of $700,000

On February 14, 2013 by Schnader in Labor and Employment

By Rebecca Lacher

The Department of Justice announced on Febuary 13, 2013, that three whistleblowers will collectively receive $122,500 of a $700,000 settlement payment to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act.The trio will be paid by a nursing home accused of submitting false claims to Medicare for non-reimbursable rehabilitation therapy services.

The lawsuit, United States of America & Commonwealth of Virginia ex rel. Christine Ribik, Nadine Kelly, & Stephanie Beauregard v. Fairfax Nursing Center, Inc., et al. , No. 1:11-cv-496 (E.D. Va.), involved allegations that therapy services were excessive, duplicative, medically unnecessary, and performed to capture higher reimbursement rates.

The Department cited its continuing efforts to hold nursing facilities accountable and to recover overbillings of Medicare by providers.  The Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) initiative, announced in May 2009, focuses on reducing and preventing Medicare and Medicaid financial fraud, largely via the False Claims Act.  The Justice Department has recovered nearly $10.2 billion since January 2009 in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs, and $14 billion in total recoveries under the False Claims Act in that same time period.