Department of Justice Seal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CIV FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, 1997 (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888 U.S. SUES TWO TENNESSEE MEN AND RELATED HEALTH CARE COMPANIES WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice today sued a health care management company and the former executive director of a home health agency, both of Chattanooga, Tennessee, for fraudulently using the home health agency and others to overcharge Medicare at least $30 million for inflated management expenses related to the operation of several home health care agencies. The companies and the wife of the owner of the management company also were named as defendants. Assistant Attorney General Frank W. Hunger, in charge of the Civil Division, said the complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga against William T. Rogers; James C. Callaway Jr.; Alpha Medical Inc., formerly Alpha Medical Management Inc. (Alpha); and the not-for-profit Superior Home Health Care of Chattanooga Inc. (SHHC-C), also known as The Charitable Healthcare Foundation Inc. Rogers, Callaway, Alpha and SHHC-C were charged with violations of the civil False Claims Act and common law. Rogers' spouse, Gayle M. Rogers, was sued solely under common law. "The Department will not tolerate any fraud or cheating of the Medicare program," said Hunger. "Those who engage in deceptive practices or otherwise abuse the program will be held accountable for their actions. We want each and every health care provider participating in the Medicare program to understand that clearly." William Rogers is the sole shareholder of Alpha, the suit said. SHHC-C was a home health agency that Alpha managed. Alpha also managed other home health agencies that operated under the name of Superior Home Health Care, some of which initially were owned by Callaway then later sold to other SHHC-C directors, and other agencies that were owned by relatives of William and Gayle Rogers. The complaint alleges that William T. Rogers, Callaway, Alpha and SHHC-C conspired with each other and others to obtain Medicare reimbursement for the management fees the various home health agencies paid Alpha. The suit says the fees were not reimbursable because Alpha and the home health agencies were related organizations within the meaning of Medicare rules. The agencies, therefore, were entitled only to reimbursement up to the amount of Alpha's reasonable and related costs for patient care in managing the home health agencies, excluding any profit. According to the complaint, the reimbursement claims exceeded Alpha's reasonable costs by more than $30 million, which were salaries Alpha paid William T. and Gayle Rogers in 1990 through 1993. The complaint maintains that the parties were related because William T. Rogers was the president of SHHC-C's board and was SHHC-C's executive director, administrator, treasurer and bank note guarantor, when Alpha initially contracted with SHHC-C to manage SHHC-C in 1986. Gayle Rogers also was on the SHHC-C board at that time. Moreover, at that time, Callaway, a long-time personal and business associate of William T. Rogers, was a director of SHHC-C, according to the complaint. The other members of the SHHC-C board at the time were Todd Gardenhire, Rogers' stockbroker; Charles Levine, Rogers' certified public accountant; and Charles Johnson, Callaway's brother-in-law. The complaint further alleges that Callaway, while a director of SHHC-C, contracted with Alpha to manage three home health agencies he owned. Two other home health agencies that contracted for Alpha's management were owned by two of Gayle Rogers' sisters' husbands. Gardenhire, Levine, Johnson and Gayle Rogers' sisters' husbands were not named as defendants in the suit. According to the complaint, William T. Rogers, Callaway, SHHC-C, and Alpha also conspired to submit false bid letters to the Medicare fiscal intermediary in 1988 and 1990 to prevent a finding that the organizations were related. The falsified documents allegedly were intended to establish the existence of competitive bids or a market search for other management companies that, in fact, never occurred. Under the False Claims Act, the United States may be awarded three time its damages plus a $5,000 to $10,000 civil penalty for each false claim or statement. ##### 97-355