FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2001
TDD (202) 514-1888
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT COMPANY TO PAY U.S. OVER $3 MILLION
TO SETTLE HEALTH CARE FRAUD ALLEGATIONS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lincare Inc., a national medical equipment company based in Clearwater, Florida, has agreed to pay the United States more than three million dollars to resolve allegations that it improperly billed Medicare for home-oxygen equipment, therapeutic ventilators and the respiratory drug albuterol sulfate.
"This settlement demonstrates our continuing commitment to pursue vigorously allegations of fraud and abuse in Medicare and other federal health care programs," said Robert McCallum, Assistant Attorney General for the Department's Civil Division. "Suppliers of medical equipment, along with other health care providers, can and will be held accountable for their billing practices. This settlement demonstrates our unwavering pursuit of fraud and abuse."
Under the agreement, Lincare and its parent corporation, Lincare Holdings Inc., will pay $3,150,000 to settle allegations of improper Medicare billings from the company's centers in Chico and Redding, California from 1995 through 1997. Also as part of the settlement, a Lincare subsidiary that houses the Chico and Redding centers has entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will be required to ensure continuing compliance with Medicare program requirements.
The settlement resolves the government's contention that Lincare's Chico and Redding Centers in California violated the False Claims Act by knowingly seeking Medicare reimbursement through repeated improper billing for home oxygen therapy in violation of the federal health care program's clear prohibitions. The settlement also resolves the government's allegations of other improprieties in these two Lincare Centers' Medicare billing for therapeutic ventilators and albuterol sulfate.
The government's investigation was led by the United States Attorney's Office in Sacramento, California, in collaboration with the Justice Department's Civil Division, and the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.