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Minnesota-Based Home Health Care Chain Pays U.S. $8 Million to Settle Civil Fraud Allegations

WASHINGTON, DC – Intrepid U.S.A. has paid the United States $8 million to resolve allegations that the company fraudulently overbilled three government health care programs – Medicare, Medicaid, and the military health care programs, TRICARE/CHAMPUS – the Justice Department and the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota announced today.

The settlement resolves allegations that the Edina, Minnesota-based company's more than 150 home health agencies violated the False Claims Act between 1997 and 2004, by billing Medicare and TRICARE where services had not been provided by a qualified person, where Intrepid had failed to complete and maintain the necessary documentation to support its claims, or where the company had otherwise violated Medicare's regulations. In addition, the government contended that Intrepid violated the False Claims Act in 2002 and 2003 by billing the Medicaid program in Minnesota for services that were never provided because the beneficiary was in fact hospitalized at the time he or she was supposedly receiving services in the home.

“This settlement confirms our vigorous pursuit of allegations of fraud and abuse in federal health care programs,” said Peter D. Keisler, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. “All participants in these programs must abide by the government’s requirements for the provision of care and proper billing.”

In early 2004, Intrepid and 67 of its subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 protection under the bankruptcy provisions of the United States Code. The bankruptcy court has approved both the settlement and a plan of reorganization, under which the home health agencies will retain their provider agreements.

Also, as part of the settlement, Intrepid has agreed to strengthen and extend the provisions in its 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 provisions of the settlement agreement and the Corporate Integrity Agreement will be binding on the reorganized Intrepid Companies.

The case was jointly handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Justice Department's Civil Division, in collaboration with the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Minnesota Medicaid Fraud Control Unit also participated in the case.