Lincare settles overbilling claims in Massachusetts
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Lincare has agreed to pay $526,000 to settle a federal whistleblower lawsuit that claimed three of that national's Massachusetts branches overbilled Medicare, the U.S. Attorney General's office announced last week.
The news follows Lincare's agreement in mid-May to pay $10 million to settle charges that its Florida branches allegedly gave kickbacks to physicians in exchange for referrals.
Lincare did not admit any wrong doing in either settlement. The company stated in a release in mid-May that, in all, it had settled about $12 million to settle investigations in Florida and Massachusetts, as well as Tennessee and Idaho.
The investigation of Lincare's Marlborough, Dudley and Cherry Valley, Mass., branches resulted in charges that the company allegedly submitted claims for payment to Medicare based on qualifying tests performed by its employees. HME providers are not allowed to perform tests that qualify beneficiaries for equipment paid for by Medicare, the AG's office stated.
The settlement, which also includes a corporate integrity agreement, covers claims submitted for payment from Jan. 1, 1999 through March 31, 2003.
The investigation was based on allegations made by a former Lincare sales representative, Susan Smith of Holyoke, Mass., according to The Boston Globe. Smith, who worked for the company for seven months in 2002, will receive nearly $97,000 of the settlement.