Ambulance Company Agrees to Settle Allegations That it Defrauded Federal Health Insurance Programs by Submitting Inflated Claims for Payment
American Medical Response, Inc., on behalf of its subsidiaries Park Ambulance Service, Inc., Five Counties Ambulance Service, Inc., and Associated Ambulance Service, Inc. (AMR), has agreed to pay $2.7 million to the United States to resolve allegations that it defrauded the Medicare programs as well as other federal health insurance programs, announced Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Thomas O’Donnell, Special Agent-in-Charge, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, New York Regional Office (HHS-OIG).
The government began its investigation of AMR after several former employees filed a complaint against the company on behalf of the United States in the Eastern District of New York. Under the federal False Claims Act, a private individual who has uncovered fraud against the federal government may file a suit in federal court on behalf of the United States. If the United States is successful in resolving those claims, the individuals who filed the complaint may receive a share of the recovery.
In resolving this case, the United States alleged in the civil settlement agreement that between 2001 and 2005, AMR, through information provided to its administrative departments in its Brooklyn and Long Island offices, knowingly submitted falsely inflated claims for transportation services to federal health insurance programs. AMR, which has not admitted to engaging in the conduct at issue, has also agreed to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with HHS-OIG.
“Today’s settlement demonstrates this Office’s continued commitment to recover taxpayer dollars when it learns that false claims are submitted to federal health care programs,” stated United States Attorney Lynch.
“OIG is aggressively pursuing those who would exploit federal health care programs at the expense of our most vulnerable,” said HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge O’Donnell. “Over-billing for ambulance services is just an example of the abuses we are fighting with our law enforcement partners.”
The government’s case was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Erin E. Argo and Paul Kaufman, who were assisted by Affirmative Civil Enforcement auditor Emily Rosenthal. The Corporate Integrity Agreement was negotiated by Geeta Taylor, Associate Counsel of the Office of Counsel to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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