In a settlement with the US DOJ in U.S. ex rel. Halpin and Fahey v. Kindred Healthcare Inc. et al., 1:11-cv-12139, Kindred Healthcare, Inc., a skilled nursing and long-term care company, has agreed to pay the federal government more than $125 million for alleged False Claims Act violations by a therapy services company, RehabCare Group, Inc., acquired by Kindred in June, 2011.
RehabCare contracts with more than 1,000 skilled nursing facilities across the country, and, along with Kindred, is alleged to have caused those facilities to submit Medicare claims for services at the highest reimbursement levels that were not actually provided, or not necessary. Two whistleblowers stand to receive almost $24 million from the settlement.
While all providers need to have strong compliance, this is a reminder that larger providers, whose operations span multiple offices, cities and states, need to be especially vigilant and install strong company-wide compliance programs.
On April 20, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (“OIG“) published its “Practical Guidance for Health Care Governing Boards on Compliance Oversight” (the “Guide“). The Guide was prepared in collaboration with the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors, the American Health Lawyers Association, the Health Care Compliance Association, and according to the Guide, provides tips to health care boards (“Boards“) on four categories: “(1) roles of, and relationships between, the organization’s audit, compliance, and legal departments; (2) mechanism and process for issue-reporting within an organization; (3) approach to identifying regulatory risk; and (4) methods of encouraging enterprise-wide accountability for achievement of compliance goals and objectives.” While not a legally binding document, the Guide provides helpful insight for Boards and underscores best practices in these areas. Continue reading OIG Issues Guide For Health Care Boards on Compliance Oversight
Once a year, as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) solicits proposals to develop new or revised anti-kickback, fraud and abuse safe harbors. The OIG published its request for proposals for new or revised safe harbors in the December 29, 2011 Federal Register. The notice also seeks comments on developing special fraud alerts.
Continue reading HHS OIG Notice Seeks Comments on Safe Harbors, Special Fraud Alerts