FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, JUNE 28, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER TO PAY U.S. $6.1 MILLION
TO RESOLVE FALSE CLAIMS ALLEGATIONS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Banner Health, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, will pay the United States $6.1 million to settle allegations that the company submitted false claims to Medicare to obtain reimbursement for home health care visits by its Wyoming facilities, the Justice Department announced today. The government alleged that Banner Health, formerly known as Lutheran Health Systems, filed claims that were either not reasonable and necessary or for which the amount, frequency and duration of services were not reasonable and necessary.
"Todayís settlement demonstrates the Justice Department's commitment to recover funds inappropriately billed to Medicare," said Peter D. Keisler, Assistant Attorney General for the Departmentís Civil Division.
The allegations regarding the false claims were brought to the attention of
the United States by a lawsuit filed under the
qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private individuals to sue on behalf of the government. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming by a former Banner employee, Debbie Evans. Under the settlement, Evans will receive $1 million of the settlement proceeds.
The settlement is one of the largest, if not the largest, recoveries by the United States in Wyoming.
The investigation was conducted by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, and the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Wyoming. The United States Attorney's Office and the Civil Division negotiated the civil settlement with the defendants, with HHS handling the administrative negotiations.