Rehab company Reliant pays $6.1 million to settle whistleblower’s kickback allegations

by Ben Vernia | August 23rd, 2018

On August 23, the Department of Justice announced that Texas-based Reliant Rehabilitation Holdings, Inc., will pay $6.1 million to settle civil charges, originally brought by a physician whistleblower, that the company paid kickbacks to nursing facilities and physicians for patient referrals. According to DOJ’s press release:

Reliant Rehabilitation Holdings Inc. (Reliant), a national provider of rehabilitation therapy and related services headquartered in Plano, Texas, has agreed to pay the United States $6.1 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §3729, et seq., by paying kickbacks to skilled nursing facilities and physicians in connection with care provided to Medicare beneficiaries as a way of improperly promoting Reliant’s rehabilitation therapy business, the Justice Department announced today.

The United States alleged that between April 1, 2013, and May 1, 2017, Reliant knowingly offered improper inducements, in the form of Reliant-employed nurse practitioners who worked at client nursing homes without charge or for a nominal, below fair market fee in order to induce or reward nursing homes for contracting with Reliant to provide rehabilitation therapy for their residents.  The settlement between the United States and Reliant resolves this claim, as well as a separate allegation that Reliant violated the FCA by causing the submission of claims to Medicare that were tainted by improper contracts between Reliant and physicians working at skilled nursing facilities that offered the physicians above fair market compensation for supervising and collaborating with Reliant nurse practitioners in exchange for the facilities’ therapy business.

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The Government announced that the relator will receive approximately $915,000 (a 15% relator’s share). DOJ’s press release made no mention of a corporate integrity agreement, which is common in such cases.

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