FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CIV
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 1996                           (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

                                 
 MEDICAL SUPPLIER PAYS U.S. $4 MILLION TO SETTLE MEDICARE CLAIMS

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A Pennsylvania supplier of medical
equipment and its former owners paid the United States more than
$4 million today to settle allegations they defrauded Medicare of
millions of dollars by filing false claims for reimbursement, the
Department of Justice announced.  
     In addition, two of the former owners of Advanced Care
Associates, Inc., Robert Wolk and Robert Miller, and their
spouses, Harriet Wolk and Anne Miller, were barred for life from
participating in the Medicare program and certain state health
care insurance programs.  Today's settlement involved lymphedema
pumps and sleeves which are among the durable medical equipment
Advanced Care sells.  The company is based in Fort Washington.
     Assistant Attorney General Frank W. Hunger of the Civil
Division said, "The Department of Justice and United States
Attorneys' offices have been pursuing civil False Claims Act
cases against numerous suppliers of lymphedema pumps and certain
pump manufacturers in a nationwide effort to combat fraud
perpetrated on the Medicare system.  
     "Today's settlement marks the successful resolution of one
of the cases and the return to the federal treasury of monies
wrongfully appropriated."
     The government alleged that the defendants falsified and
submitted to Medicare documents relating to the medical condition
of Medicare beneficiaries to obtain reimbursement from the
federal health insurance program for hundreds of lymphedema and
sleeve pumps.  The pumps and sleeves may be used to treat
lymphedema, a swelling in the arms or legs caused by the
accumulation of excessive lymph fluid.  
     According to a qui tam complaint filed in U.S. District
Court in Philadelphia, the defendants altered information on
certificates of medical necessity signed by physicians without
the authorization or knowledge of the physician and also forged
the signatures of physicians on the certificates.  
     The government also alleged that the defendants routinely
misrepresented to Medicare beneficiaries that there would be no
charge to the beneficiary for the pump and sleeve to induce
beneficiaries to purchase the pump and assign the Medicare claim
to Advanced Care so the company could seek millions of dollars in
payments from Medicare.  Medicare beneficiaries generally are
required by law to pay a deductible and 20 percent copayment.  
     The complaint further alleged that the defendants falsely
represented to the government that they were supplying new
equipment to the beneficiaries when in fact they supplied used
equipment.  The government also alleged that the individual
defendants destroyed documents to try to hide their unlawful
scheme. 
     In addition to the $4,030,000 payment, Advanced Care and its
parent company, The Care Group, which was not a defendant, agreed
to a three-year compliance program to promote full compliance
with all Medicare and Medicaid regulations.  The individual
defendants, the Wolks and Millers, are barred for life from doing
business involving claims to or payments from Medicare and
certain state health care programs as part of the settlement.
    The action was filed under the qui tam provisions of the
False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3730, by Christopher Piacentile and
handled by the United States Attorney's office in Philadelphia
and the Department's Civil Division. 
     Today's action is one of several brought by the government
nationwide against suppliers or manufacturers of lymphedema pumps
and sleeves for trying to defraud the Medicare Program
administered by the Department of Health and Human Services by
filing false claims for payment. 
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