Sleep testing company pays $15.3 million to settle whistleblower's charges of false claims

by Ben Vernia | January 3rd, 2013

On January 3, the Department of Justice announced that a Florida-based sleep disorder testing company had agreed to pay over $15 million to resolve civil False Claims Act allegations. According to DOJ’s press release:

Florida-based American Sleep Medicine LLC has agreed to pay $15,301,341 to resolve allegations that it billed Medicare, TRICARE – the health care program for Uniformed Service members, retirees and their families worldwide – and the Railroad Retirement Medicare Program for sleep diagnostic services that were not eligible for payment, the Justice Department announced today.

American Sleep, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., owns and operates 19 diagnostic sleep testing centers throughout the United States, including in Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The company’s primary business is to provide testing for patients suffering from sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. The test results are used by doctors to determine the most appropriate course of treatment for patients. The most common tool used to diagnose sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea, is a procedure called polysomnographic diagnostic sleep testing. Under federal program requirements for the reimbursement of claims submitted for sleep disorder testing, initial sleep studies must be conducted by technicians who are licensed or certified by a state or national credentialing body as sleep test technicians.

The United States contend that Medicare and TRICARE claims submitted by American Sleep during this period were false because the diagnostic testing services were performed by technicians who lacked the required credentials or certifications, when it knew this violated the law. American Sleep submitted false claims to Medicare and TRICARE between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2011, according to the United States’ allegations.

The Government also announced that the qui tam relator, or whistleblower, who brought the case will receive over $2.6 million of the settlement (a 17% relator’s share).

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