Fort Lauderdale home health care company pays $1.65 million to settle whistleblower's kickback allegations

by Ben Vernia | September 22nd, 2014

On September 17, the Department of Justice announced that A Plus Home Health Care, Inc., and its two owners have agreed to settle a civil lawsuit, originally brought by a whistleblower, that the company paid kickbacks in the form of sham marketing positions occupied by spouses of referring physicians. According to DOJ’s press release:

A Plus Home Health Care Inc. and its owners, Tracy Nemerofsky and her father, Stephen Nemerofsky, have agreed to pay $1.65 million to the United States to settle allegations that A Plus paid spouses of referring physicians for sham marketing positions in order to induce patient referrals, the Justice Department announced today. A Plus is a home health care company located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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The United States filed a complaint against A Plus and Tracy Nemerofsky alleging that, beginning in 2006, A Plus engaged in a scheme to increase Medicare referrals in the heavily saturated home health care market in southern Florida. The company allegedly hired at least seven physicians’ spouses and one physician’s boyfriend to perform marketing duties, but required the spouses and boyfriend to perform few, if any, actual job duties. Instead, the spouses’ and boyfriend’s salaries allegedly served as an inducement and reward for the physicians’ referrals of Medicare patients to A Plus. According to the complaint, Tracy Nemerofsky fired at least two spouses when their husbands failed to refer a certain number of patients to A Plus. Tracy Nemerofsky allegedly reaped large rewards for the scheme, receiving a salary of $685,000 from A Plus in 2010, when A Plus’ business increased as a result of Medicare referrals generated from the sham marketer scheme.

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The government announced that the relator, a former A Plus director of development, will receive a share of the settlement in an amount to be determined.

The government also disclosed that it had previously settled with physicians and their spouses:

The United States previously settled with five couples that allegedly accepted payments from A Plus: Steven and Fortuna Hornreich, Mark and Meredith Rogovin, Sam and Christy Sareh, Gary and Stacy Wolfson, and Keifer Wyble and Nuria Rodriguez

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