United States Settles with Waterbury Residential Care Facility over Employment of Prohibited Person
Burlington, VT – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that it has settled potential enforcement litigation against Kirby House, a residential care facility in Waterbury, relating to its employment of an individual who had been prohibited from participating in federal health care programs by the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS-OIG"). As part of the settlement, Kirby House agreed to pay $15,000 pursuant to an installment plan, and agreed to follow procedures intended to prevent the employment of excluded persons in the future. Kirby House employed a licensed practical nurse ("LPN"), whose license had been previously suspended. The excluded individual was initially hired to work in a non-nursing capacity, but subsequently worked for approximately six months at Kirby House in an LPN capacity under the supervision of a registered nurse. The individual was excluded from participating in federal health care programs during the entirety of the individual's term of employment.
HHS-OIG has the authority to exclude persons from participating in various federal health care programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. The HHS-OIG will exercise its exclusion authority for various reasons, including certain convictions and, as was the case in this matter, state licensing board actions. Once an individual is excluded, Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federal health care programs shall not pay for services provided by that individual, and it is unlawful to bill those programs for services provided by such individuals. Health care providers can easily determine whether an employee, or applicant for employment, has been excluded by HHS-OIG by accessing the publicly available on-line database through http://oig.hhs.gov/fraud.exclusions.asp.
The United States contended that Kirby House employed the excluded individual and billed Medicaid for services she provided. In addition to the $15,000 payment, Kirby House certified that it has in place policies and procedures to prevent hiring or contracting with any Ineligible Person. As part of the settlement, Kirby House did not admit liability.
Kirby House was represented by Eric G. Parker, Esq., of Bauer, Gravel, Farnham, Nuovo & Parker in Burlington. The matter was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin J. Doyle.