Home Health Companies Will Pay $2.5 Million to Resolve FCA Allegations

by Andrew Murray | December 2nd, 2019

The Department of Justice announced a settlement with several Louisiana health care companieson November 5, 2019. The agreement resolves a False Claims Act complaint against Health Care Options of Lafayette, Inc.; Health Care Options, Inc.; Home Care Options Houston, Inc.; and Howard D. Austin, II. The Press Release states:

United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today that Louisiana-based home health companies Health Care Options, Inc. and Health Care Options of Lafayette, Inc.; Texas-based Home Care Options Houston, Inc.; and Howard D. Austin, II, have agreed to settle a civil fraud complaint filed under the federal False Claims Act by paying $2.5 million to the United States.

The settlement resolves allegations that, between 2011 and 2018, the defendants defrauded the Medicare and Louisiana Medicaid programs by submitting false and fraudulent claims for payment for home health services without required face-to-face encounters between patients and physicians.

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U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles has issued an order accepting the parties’ settlement agreement and has entered a consent judgment in favor of the United States.  The settlement resolves a lawsuit, United States ex rel. Melanie Berzas v. Health Care Options, Inc., et al., No. 14-199-JWD-RLB, filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which permits private parties to file suit on behalf of the United States and to share in a portion of the Government’s recovery.

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