Recovery Home Care Resolves Whistleblower Allegations in $1.1 Million Settlement By Tod Aronovitz | 03/13/15 | 0 Comment

Recovery Home Care, a collective of two entities—Recovery Home Care Inc. and Recovery Home Care Services Inc.—and National Home Care Holdings LLC have agreed to pay $1.1 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act, the U.S. Department of Justice recently announced. According to allegations, Recovery Home Health improperly paid doctors for referrals of home health care services provided to Medicare patients.

Based in West Palm Beach, Recovery Home Care was purchased by National Home Care Holdings in 2012, after the alleged conduct occurred. The lawsuit was filed by Gregory Simony, a former employee of Recovery Home Care, under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act.

According to Miami whistleblower lawyer Tod Aronovitz, these provisions enabled a private citizen to sue on behalf of the government and receive a share in the recovery. As a result, the government will disburse $198,000 to Simony. The act also allows the government to intervene and take over the action, as it partially did in this case.

The lawsuit accused Recovery Home Care of illegally paying a number of physicians thousands of dollars each month to review patient charts during the timeframe of 2009 through 2012. According to the government’s lawsuit, the physicians were not only over-compensated for any actual work they performed, but the payments paid to the physicians were used to induce them to refer their patients to Recovery Home Care.

These inducements were in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law, which are in place to curb improper financial relationships with doctors and ensure that a physician’s medical judgment is not compromised by financial incentives.  The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by federal health care programs, including Medicare, while the Stark Law forbids a home health care provider from billing Medicare for certain services referred by physicians who have a financial relationship with the entity.

“Health care providers that attempt to profit by providing illegal inducements will be held accountable,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “We will continue to advocate for the appropriate use of Medicare funds and the proper care of our senior citizens.”

The settlement partially resolves allegations in the lawsuit which was initially filed in federal court in Tampa. The government continues to litigate this case against Recovery Home Care’s previous owner, Mark Conklin.

The settlement was the result of a coordinated effort by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and HHS-OIG.

The case is captioned United States ex rel. Simony v. Recovery Home Care, et al., Case No. 8-12-cv-2495-T-36TBM (M.D. Fla.).

How to Report Medicare Fraud to a Florida Whistleblower Attorney

Healthcare professionals or medical billing employees who have 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 up to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower Lawyers / Qui Tam Law Firm

The Miami whistleblower attorneys of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely work with Florida whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Florida whistleblower lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss your case.