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Alabama-Based Hospice Company Pays U.S. $24.7 Million to Settle Health Care Fraud Claims
Date:1/15/2009

y admit patients to hospice care who did not qualify and to bill Medicare for that care. This resulted in taxpayers bearing inappropriate costs. Today's settlement evidences the Department of Justice's efforts to both protect the public monies and safeguard Medicare beneficiaries," said Alice H. Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

"This significant settlement demonstrates our commitment to protect the Medicare trust fund from fraud and abuse and to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries receive quality care," said David E. Nahmias, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. "Every provider that submits claims to the Medicare program must ensure that its services are billed appropriately. Falsely admitting people to hospice care who did not qualify for the benefit exposed these patients to potential harm and contributes to the soaring costs of health care for everyone."

As part of the settlement, SouthernCare will enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General (OIG), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to address the allegations raised in the qui tam complaints.

"Today's Corporate Integrity Agreement contains rigorous provisions specifically designed to ensure SouthernCare's future compliance with Medicare and Medicaid hospice eligibility requirements," said Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General for HHS. "This agreement demonstrates OIG's commitment to protect the integrity of federal health care programs."

The investigation was jointly handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the Justice Department's Civil Division, Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI.


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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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