South Carolina ambulance company pays $800,000 to settle whistleblower's claims

by Ben Vernia | February 25th, 2013

On February 25, the Department of Justice announced that a Williston, South Carolina-based ambulance company has settled claims originally brought under the False Claims Act by a qui tam relator, that the company billed the government for medically unnecessary ambulance transports. According to DOJ’s press release:

Williston Rescue Squad Inc. has agreed to pay the United States $800,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by making false claims for payment to Medicare for ambulance transports, the Justice Department announced today. Williston, based in Williston, S.C., provides ambulance transport services in the southwestern part of South Carolina.

Medicare is a federally-funded health care program that is intended to provide basic medical insurance to people over the age of 65. Medicare reimburses providers only for non-emergency ambulance transports if the patient transported is bed-confined or has a medical condition that requires ambulance transportation. The settlement resolves allegations that Williston billed Medicare for routine, non-emergency ambulance transports that were not medically necessary and that Williston created false documents to make the transports appear to meet the Medicare requirements.

The government announced that the whistleblower, described as “a clinical social worker at a facility that regularly received patients transported by Williston’s ambulances,” will receive $160,000 (a 20% relator’s share).

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