by Ben Vernia | October 27th, 2016
On October 25, the Department of Justice announced that it had settled allegations of kickbacks with a Kansas-based home health care agency and its owner. According to DOJ’s press release:
Best Choice Home Health Care Agency Inc. (Best Choice) and its owner, Reginald King, have agreed to pay $1.8 million to resolve allegations that Best Choice and King violated the False Claims Act by paying kickbacks for the referral of Medicaid-covered patients for home and community-based healthcare services from Best Choice. Best Choice is a home healthcare services provider based in Kansas City, Kansas. King is the owner and operator of Best Choice.
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This settlement resolves allegations that from July 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2014, Best Choice submitted claims for home and community-based healthcare services to Medicaid that resulted from a kickback arrangement between King, on behalf of Best Choice and Christopher Thomas, who transported patients from their homes to healthcare facilities in Kansas City. Specifically, under this alleged arrangement, King paid Thomas $58,000 in kickbacks for new patients referred to Best Choice based on a formula which accounted for each hour of service that Best Choice billed to Medicaid.
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The Medicaid Program is a jointly-funded federal and state program. Of the $1.8 million that King and Best Choice will pay under the settlement, the United States will receive $1,011,780 and the state of Kansas will receive $788,220.
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According to the government, the whistleblower was the recipient of the kickbacks, and will receive “$43,178 which represents 10 percent of the federal share of the settlement, minus the amount that the relator received in kickbacks during the duration of the scheme.”