United States and State of Vermont Settle with Two Nursing Homes over Employment of Banned Persons
Burlington, VT – The United States Attorney for the District of Vermont and the Attorney General for the State of Vermont have settled potential enforcement litigation against Burlington Health and Rehabilitation Center and St. Johnsbury Health and Rehabilitation Center relating to their employment of nurses 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"). Both nursing homes are owned by Revera Health Systems, a corporation with its principal place of business in Connecticut. Revera Health Systems is affiliated with Revera Inc., a Canadian corporation. As part of the settlements, the homes together paid more than $249,000, and agreed to follow procedures intended to prevent employing excluded persons in the future.
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 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://exclusions.oig.hhs.gov/.
The United States and the State of Vermont contended that both facilities employed an excluded nurse and billed various federal health care programs for services provided by those nurses. As part of their respective settlements, Burlington Health and Rehabilitation paid more than $66,900 and St. Johnsbury Health and Rehabilitation paid more than $182,100. The different amounts reflect the amount of time the excluded nurses worked at each facility.
Burlington Health and Rehabilitation and St. Johnsbury Health and Rehabilitation were represented by Michael Kogut, of Springfield, Massachusetts. 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 Nikolas Kerest. The State of Vermont was represented by Assistant Attorney General Edward Baker.