News and Press Releases

Huron Physical Therapist Settles Civil Claim Pursuant to False Claims Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2011
Contact: Mark E. Salter
Assistant United States Attorney
605-357-2360

United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota, Brendan V. Johnson, and South Dakota Attorney General Marty J. Jackley jointly announced today that Reed Hittle and Precision Physical Therapy, Inc. of Huron paid $42,000 to settle allegations that they improperly billed federal and state agencies for physical therapy services performed by unlicensed and unqualified personnel. Hittle previously pled guilty to one count of making false statements relating to health care matters. He was sentenced to one year probation and ordered to pay $119,260.37 in criminal restitution. Today's settlement relates to the government's civil action pursuant to the False Claims Act.

The government's complaint alleged that between January 1, 2005, and July 31, 2008, defendants billed federal and state entities for physical therapy services performed by an unlicensed and unqualified provider. South Dakota law requires that all physical therapy services be provided by a licensed physical therapist or a licensed physical therapist assistant.

According to the Settlement Agreement, defendants deny the allegations made by the United States and South Dakota, but settle the case without admitting liability to avoid the delay, uncertainty, inconvenience, and expense of protracted litigation. Defendants cooperated with the investigation in this matter.

United States Attorney Johnson said: “Today’s settlement demonstrates my office’s determination to protect patients by ensuring that they are not subjected to treatment by unlicensed and unqualified personnel. I also want to thank the South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley and his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for their investigation of this matter.”

Johnson and Jackley extend their gratitude to the Department of Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the South Dakota Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for their investigation of this case.

The State of South Dakota was represented by the director of its Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Paul Cremer. The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Gusinsky.

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