FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
UNITED STATES RECOVERS MORE THAN $15 MILLION IN PROFITS
WRONGFULLY OBTAINED FROM THE MEDICARE SYSTEM
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gayle M. Rogers of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the Estate of her late husband agreed to pay the United States $15.25 million to settle a lawsuit brought for filing false claims with Medicare, the Justice Department announced today. The settlement resolves civil claims under the False Claims Act and common law, that Tom Rogers Sr. and his management company, Alpha Medical, Inc., submitted false claims to Medicare for services his firm provided to a network of six Tennessee operations using the name Superior Home Health Care.
The United States alleged that Tom Rogers erected the network, locating the agencies to buy and installing as its owners his relatives, his best friend and others indebted to him. This arrangement guaranteed that Alpha would manage the agencies.
Rogers and the company then caused the agencies to claim reimbursement from Medicare for Alpha's fee which included profits, while misleading the federal health care program about the true nature of the controlling relationships. Through these false claims, Alpha obtained its fee, including profit that Medicare otherwise would not have paid had it known of the relationships. The government health care program's rule against paying such a profit when there is a controlling relationship is designed to protect the Medicare Trust Fund from unscrupulous demands for excessive fees.
"This settlement sends a clear signal that the United States will spare no effort to bring to justice those who knowingly circumvent the rules of the Medicare system for their own wrongful benefit, and to recover from them the ill gotten gain," said Robert D. McCallum Jr., Assistant Attorney General for the Department's Civil Division.
Gayle Rogers, who, along with Tom Rogers, received the improper profits in the form of unreasonable salaries and bonuses from Alpha, has had possession of most of the wrongfully obtained profits since her late husband's death.
Also as a part of the settlement, Superior Home Health Care of Chattanooga, Inc., now called Charitable Health Care Foundation, Inc., agreed to waive its claims that Medicare owed it over $1 million in unrelated claims.
Assistant Attorney General McCallum and United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee Harry S. Mattice, Jr., stated that the settlement is the result of an extraordinary effort on the part of the Civil Division and the United States Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate and prosecute this wrongdoing.