Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Lawsuit against A Plus Home Health Care, Inc. Joined by Government By Tod Aronovitz | 07/22/13 | 0 Comment

With offices in Palm Beach and Broward counties, Fort Lauderdale-based A Plus Home Health Care, Inc., and its owner Tracy Nemerofsky are at the center of a Medicare fraud whistleblower lawsuit.  The suit accuses the company of hiring at least seven doctors’ wives and a physician’s boyfriend to perform marketing duties that required little or no work, and alleges that their salaries were an inducement to increase physician referrals of Medicare patients for its home health care services.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office intervened in the whistleblower suit on Friday, and will take a lead role in litigating the lawsuit.

Beginning in 2006, the government claims that A Plus Home Health Care initiated a scheme to increase Medicare referrals in South Florida’s saturated home health care market.  To conceal the scheme, Ms. Nemerofsky generated sham personnel files—which included lists of job duties and performance reviews of job functions that the spouses and boyfriend did not perform—to give the appearance that they were legitimate employees, the government contends.

The government’s complaint also alleges that their salaries were a reward for the physicians’ referrals of Medicare patients to the company.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami, after A Plus Home Health Care began paying the wives and boyfriend wages, Medicare payments to the company mushroomed to $6.6 million a year in 2011.  This represented a six-fold increase from $1.1 million the company received in 2005 before the spouses and boyfriend were on the payroll.

In a written statement, Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said, “We will not relent in our efforts to combat fraudulent kickback schemes, such as the no-show jobs scheme used in this case, and return dollars to the Medicare program. These schemes are classic examples of the fraud and abuse that plague and threaten the financial stability of Medicare, which provides much needed services to the sick and elderly.”

Nemerofsky denies the charges, claiming the company only hires legitimate employees and provides high-quality service to their patients.

Nemerofsky and A Plus are named in the lawsuit filed by former development director, William Guthrie, under whistleblower provisions of the federal False Claims Act. Whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act allow private parties to sue on behalf of the government and receive a share of any recovery. The act also authorizes the government to intervene in and assume primary responsibility for litigating the lawsuit, as the U.S. attorney’s office is doing in this case.

The government already settled with two of the couples who accepted payments from A Plus Home Health Care. Arango argues they wanted to avoid costly litigation and settled for minimal amounts.

How to Report Miami Medicare Fraud

Healthcare or medical billing employees who have inside knowledge of questionable Medicare billing practices can file a confidential legal claim under the False Claims Act. By acting as a “whistleblower” in what is known as a “qui tam” lawsuit, a private party may collect between 10 to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam Law Firm

The Miami Qui Tam law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely works with Miami whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss a case.