LHC Group pays $65 million to settle home health care fraud allegations

by Ben Vernia | September 30th, 2011

On September 30 – the end of Fiscal Year 2011! – the Department of Justice announced a settlement with a Louisiana-based provider of home health care services. According to DOJ’s press release:

LHC Group Inc. has agreed to pay $65 million, plus interest, to the federal government to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act for false home healthcare billings to the Medicare, TRICARE and Federal Employees Health Benefits programs, the Justice Department announced today. The company also agreed to be bound by the terms of a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).

LHC, which is based in Lafayette, La., is one of the nation’s largest home health providers. The settlement resolves allegations that, between 2006 and 2008, LHC improperly billed for services that were not medically necessary and for services rendered to patients who were not homebound. Under the False Claims Act, private citizens, known as relators, can bring suit on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery. The relator, Judy Master, will receive over $12 million as her share of the government’s recovery.

The relator’s share is nearly 18.5% of the recovery.

Readers may recall LHC Group from earlier posts regarding the Sixth Circuit’s strict interpretation of the Act’s requirement to file qui tam suits properly under seal. In January, the Supreme Court asked for the Solicitor General’s position on the whistleblower’s petition for certiorari from that decision, affirming the dismissal of her suit. The Supreme Court denied the petition in June.

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