Office of the United States Attorney, John S. Leonardo
District of Arizona
December 26, 2013
RURAL/METRO TO PAY $2.8 MILLION TO RESOLVE FALSE CLAIMS ALLEGATIONS
PHOENIX – Rural/Metro Corporation, a Delaware corporation that through its subsidiaries and affiliates provides private ambulance and fire protection services in Arizona and approximately 20 other states, has agreed to pay the United States $2,802,112 to resolve civil allegations that various Rural/Metro ambulance companies violated the federal False Claims Act by submitting false bills to Medicare.
“The need to protect federal funds, including the Medicare trust fund, from fraud, waste, and abuse has never been greater,” said U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to use the False Claims Act to pursue entities and individuals who improperly profit from federal dollars at the expense of the public. This settlement agreement is a substantial recovery for taxpayers and sends a clear message that the federal government will not stand idly by when its programs lose money due to false claims for payment.”
The settlement agreement resolves allegations that from Jan. 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2011, various ambulance companies owned and operated by Rural/Metro—including SW General Inc., dba Southwest Ambulance; Southwest Ambulance of Casa Grande Inc., dba SWARA; and Southwest Ambulance of Tucson Inc., dba Kords Ambulance—billed Medicare for transporting patients from one hospital to another on an emergency basis when, in fact, the calls were not emergencies. The United States alleged that as a result of these false and “upcoded” claims, Medicare paid substantially more for the ambulance services than was warranted. The settlement is neither an admission of liability by Rural/Metro, nor is it a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded.
Individuals with information regarding fraud, waste, or abuse related to Medicare or other federal programs are encouraged to file a complaint with the U.S. Attorney’s Office through the office’s website, http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/, or by calling (602) 514-7500.
RELEASE NUMBER: 2013-099_Rural/Metro
ATTACHMENT:2013-099_RuralMetro_Settlement Agreement (PDF)
For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/