FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CIV
WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 1997                            (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- One of the nation's largest emergency
physician staffing companies, EmCare Inc., today agreed to pay
the United States and various states $7.75 million to settle
allegations it overcharged several federal health care insurance
programs millions of dollars, according to the Department of
Justice.  The payments allegedly stemmed from false claims its
billing company submitted to the federal agencies. 

     Assistant Attorney General Frank W. Hunger of the Civil
Division said EmCare will pay the United States almost $6.5
million and various states more than $1.2 million to resolve
allegations of false billings to the Medicare, Medicaid and
CHAMPUS programs and the Federal Employees Health Benefits
Program (FEHBP).

     "All firms participating in the federal government's health
care insurance program should know that the United States will
not tolerate fraud or cheating," said Hunger.  "One of the
Department's highest priorities is to discover and prosecute any
and all federal health care program swindlers." 

     The Department said EmCare hired an Oklahoma City billing
company, Emergency Physicians Billing Services (EPBS), to submit
claims on its behalf to federal and state health care programs. 
EPBS then submitted false Medicare, Medicaid, CHAMPUS and FEHBP
claims on EmCare's behalf for patients seen by EmCare physicians. 

     The United States alleged that EPBS typically changed the
codes of health care claims to reflect more expensive medical
procedures than what was actually performed and billed for
services more extensive than those actually provided by EmCare's
     The Office of the Inspector General of the Department of
Health and Human Services and EmCare agreed separately to a
"Corporate Integrity Program" in which EmCare agreed to undertake
measures to ensure compliance with applicable laws and Medicare
rules and regulations in the future.  The program requires, for
example, that EmCare contract with an independent professional
organization to review EmCare's billing policies, procedures and
practices on an annual basis.

     The agreement settles a dispute with EmCare originally
brought as a qui tam case in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City
in United States ex rel. Semtner v. Emergency Physicians Billing
Services, Civil Action No. Civ-94-617-(C) (W.D. OK).
     As part of the settlement, the estate of Theresa Semtner,
who filed the suit on behalf of the United States, will receive
approximately $1.5 million.  The United States is continuing to
pursue recoveries against other defendants in the action, as well
as other customers of EPBS.  

     The case was conducted by the Civil Division, with the
assistance of HHS' Inspector General offices in Washington, D.C.,
and Dallas, Texas; the Oklahoma City office of the FBI; the Tulsa
Resident Agency of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service;
the Program Integrity Branch of the Office of CHAMPUS; the Office
of Inspector General for the Office of Personnel Management in
Washington, D.C.; and various state attorney general Medicaid
fraud control units around the country.  Additional audit support
was provided by Xact, the Medicare intermediary in Pennsylvania,
and the Mailhandlers Plan of the FEHBP.