Apria settles whistleblower suit
LAKE FOREST, Calif. -- Apria avoided a potential $9 billion penalty when it agreed to a preliminary agreement last month to pay the U.S. government $17.6 million to settle two whistleblower lawsuits. The settlement, together with legal fees and other related costs, will total $20 million, the company stated in a release. That's much less -- to say the least -- than the $9 billion extrapolated penalty, based on 300 claims, the feds said the company could be liable for in 2001. Under the settlement, which will take several months to hammer into its final form, Apria will admit no wrong doing. The company has acknowledged that there may have been errors and omissions in its supporting documentation between 1995-1998, but considered the $9 billion penalty excessive.