Hill-Rom settles massive fraud claim

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Hill-Rom Company has agreed to pay $41.8 million to settle claims that it allegedly violated the False Claims Act and other federal regulations.

The settlement, which does not include an admission of guilt, is the largest civil fraud recovery for the Eastern District of Tennessee, according to a press release.

Hill-Rom was accused of submitting Medicare claims for support surfaces for patients who didn't need them, or who had died. The claims were submitted between 1999 and 2007. Hill-Rom allegedly made a practice of automatically billing patients without checking to see if the patient still used the equipment.

The complaint against Hill-Rom was filed by Laurie Salmons and Lisa Brocco, sales representatives for the provider, under the whistle-blower provision of the False Claims Act. Salmons and Brocco jointly will receive more than $8 million from settlement proceeds.

"Too many giant corporations make business decisions believing that they are immune from charges of Medicare fraud," stated Derrick Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the federal Health and Human Services Department, Office of Inspector General's (DHHS-OIG) region covering Tennessee, in the release. "This settlement puts companies on notice that, no matter their size, violating Medicare regulations will lead to investigation and prosecution."

Hill-Rom said in a statement that it is "dedicated to the highest standards of business conduct. We vigorously deny that there was any wrongdoing in this situation." 

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee also assisted in the investigation.