by Ben Vernia | July 26th, 2011
On July 26, the Department of Justice announced that it was intervening in a qui tam, or whistleblower suit in the Eastern District of Kentucky, relating to home health care services. According to DOJ’s announcement:
The United States has intervened in a lawsuit against Nurses’ Registry and Home Health Corporation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the Justice Department announced today. The lawsuit was filed in March 2008 by two former Nurses’ Registry employees, Alicia Robinson-Hill and David Price, and alleges among other things that Nurses’ Registry made false claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary home health services.
According to the complaint, Nurses’ Registry exaggerated the medical conditions and needs of its patients for home health care services, both at the start of service and for additional and continuing care, in order to qualify for, and artificially increase, its claims to Medicare. The Lexington, Ky., company, according to its website “provides a wide range of home health care services including skilled nursing, physical and occupational therapies, in-home IV therapy, homemaker aid (bathing, dressing, grooming), and private duty.”
The lawsuit was filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private parties to sue on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery. The False Claims Act permits the government to recover three times its damages, plus civil penalties. The government has asked the court for 45 days to file its own complaint stating the United States’ allegations.