Another nursing home provider settles with DOJ over RehabCare false claims allegations

by Ben Vernia | September 22nd, 2014

A day after two nursing home business paid $3.75 million to settle allegations that they caused the submission of false claims by permitting the rehabilitation services provider, RehabCare, to provide worthless services, the Department of Justice announced that another nursing home operator would pay $1.3 million to settle similar allegations. On September 15, DOJ announced that Maryland-based Episcopal Ministries to the Aging, Inc., had settled RehabCare-related claims:

Episcopal Ministries to the Aging Inc. (EMA), a Maryland not-for-profit corporation that owns skilled nursing facilities, has agreed to pay $1.3 million to the government for submitting false claims to Medicare for unreasonable or unnecessary rehabilitation therapy purportedly provided by RehabCare Group East Inc., a subsidiary of Kindred Healthcare Inc.

* * *

The settlement resolves allegations that EMA submitted false claims for rehabilitation therapy at William Hill Manor, a skilled nursing facility EMA owns in Easton, Maryland. EMA hired RehabCare to provide rehabilitation therapy services to its patients at that facility starting in 2010. The government alleges that EMA failed to prevent RehabCare from providing unreasonable or unnecessary therapy to patients in order to increase Medicare reimbursement to the facilities. The government contended that among other things the reported therapy did not reflect the lower amounts of therapy generally provided to patients over the course of their stay.

The settlement further resolves allegations that EMA failed to prevent other RehabCare practices designed to inflate Medicare reimbursement, including: in lieu of using individualized evaluations to determine the level of care most suitable for each patient’s clinical needs, presumptively placing patients in the highest reimbursement level unless it was shown that the patients could not tolerate that amount of therapy; providing the minimum number of minutes of therapy required to bill at the highest reimbursement level while discouraging the provision of therapy in amounts beyond that minimum threshold, despite the Medicare requirement that the amount of care provided be determined by patients’ clinical needs; arbitrarily shifting the number of minutes of planned therapy between therapy disciplines to ensure targeted reimbursement levels were achieved and reporting estimated or rounded minutes instead of reporting the actual minutes of therapy provided.

* * *

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Recent Comments