Visiting Physicians Association to Pay $9.5M to Resolve Whistleblower Allegations

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , December 28, 2009

Visiting Physicians Association, a home health services group, will pay the federal government and the state of Michigan $9.5 million to settle whistleblower allegations that it reportedly submitted false claims to three government-sponsored healthcare programs, the U.S. Justice Department announced.

The government had alleged that VPA, based in Farmington Hills, MI, submitted claims to Medicare, TRICARE, and Michigan Medicaid for unnecessary home visits and care plan oversight services, for unnecessary tests and procedures, and for more complex evaluation and management services than the services that VPA provided.

The settlement involves four lawsuits filed by private plaintiffs under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private parties to file an action on the government's behalf and share in any recovery. The four whistleblowers named in the settlement will split $1.7 million.

"This settlement illustrates the government's commitment to pursuing those who defraud Medicare and other important programs and drive up the costs of healthcare," said Tony West, assistant attorney general for DOJ's Civil Division. "The Justice Department will continue to work with our federal and state partners to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent on healthcare services for patients, not wasted on fraud and abuse."

VPA provides home health services in Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, and Wisconsin.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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