FBI raids Pacific Pulmonary
NOVATO, Calif. - FBI agents raided several California offices of Pacific Pulmonary Services on Feb. 28 and so far, the bureau and the company aren't saying much about why.
"Pacific Pulmonary Services is cooperating fully with government agencies after being served a document request yesterday," the company stated in release to HME News. "We are not aware of the government's specific concerns."
Local media outlets reported that FBI agents raided at least three offices in Bakersfield, and one in Ridgecrest.
Gina Swankie, a public affairs specialist with the FBI's Sacramento office, confirmed that "warrant activity took place," but she couldn't comment further.
Document seizures typically happen when, during the course of an investigation, the government becomes concerned that files or documents could get lost, destroyed or altered, says a source familiar with these types of actions. Investigations can be triggered for many reasons, including from a tip from a competitor or a current or former employee, says the source.
"It's an extreme measure and it doesn't happen very often," said the source.
There was no lack of speculation about Pacific Pulmonary's situation in the provider community last week. One provider says the company may have known the raid was coming. Another called the company's sales tactics "aggressive."
Regardless of the outcome of the raid, the media attention it has received is the last thing the HME industry needs, providers say.
"It's a concern to us because we think it gives the industry, as a whole, a black eye," said Matt Lawrence, vice president of sales and operations at SuperCare in City of Industry, Calif.
Pacific Pulmonary was founded as Med-Mart in 1978. It was acquired in 1993 by Braden Partners and in 1996 it was renamed Pacific Pulmonary Services when it refocused on respiratory services.
In 2008, Tokyo-based respiratory giant Teijin acquired Pacific Pulmonary Services. The provider currently serves 150,000 patients in 20 states, according to its statement.