Nursing Home Billing for Unnecessary Therapy Fined $15 Million
Guardian Elder Care Holdings, Inc., a company that owns nursing homes, will pay over $15 million to the federal government to settle claims that the nursing home chain provided medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy to residents in order to meet revenue goals. The company operates more than 50 facilities. The settlement is a result of a qui tam, or whistleblower, lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act. The company previously employed the whistleblowers. Guardian pressured is therapists to give therapy to patients who suffered from dementia who did not need or want rehabilitation therapy, as well as dying patients receiving hospital care. It was all in order to meet financial goals and profit. Because the services were billed through Medicare, the federal government is entitled to that money back.
Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division said, “The Department will not tolerate nursing home operators that put the their own economic gain ahead of the needs of their residents, and will continue to hold accountable those operators who bill Medicare for unnecessary rehabilitation services.” In addition to the payment, Guardian had to enter into a company-wide Corporate Integrity Agreement to promote compliance and as a layer of protection.