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Press Release

Home Health Providers to Pay $4.5M to Resolve Alleged False Claims Act Liability for Providing Kickbacks to Assisted Living Facilities and Doctors

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Guardian Health Care Inc., Gem City Home Care LLC and Care Connection of Cincinnati LLC, home health agencies operating in Texas, Ohio and Indiana, along with their owner Evolution Health LLC (together, the Companies), have agreed to pay $4,496,330 to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by knowingly providing illegal kickbacks to assisted living facilities and physicians in exchange for Medicare referrals.

This settlement resolves allegations that, from 2013 to 2022, Guardian Health Care, Gem City Home Care and Care Connection of Cincinnati provided lease payments and other valuable benefits, including wellness health services, sports tickets and meals, to numerous assisted living facilities and their residents, as well as certain health care providers, in exchange for referrals of Medicare beneficiaries. The home health agencies then billed Medicare for the home health services they provided to the referred patients.

The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits the provision of remuneration with the intent to induce referrals of government health care program business. The Anti-Kickback Statute is intended to ensure that medical providers’ judgments are not compromised by improper financial incentives. Claims that are knowingly submitted in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute are ineligible for payment and can violate the False Claims Act.

“It is imperative to ensure that improper financial incentives play no role in decisions regarding patient care,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Today’s resolution demonstrates the department’s commitment to protecting the integrity of federal health care programs and the medical treatment received by their beneficiaries.”

The Companies received credit under the department’s guidelines for taking disclosure, cooperation and remediation into account in False Claims Act cases. Among other actions, the Companies disclosed the conduct to the government, identified the individuals involved and assisted in the determination of losses caused to Medicare.

The investigation and resolution of this matter illustrates the government’s emphasis on combating healthcare fraud. One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act. Tips and complaints from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement can be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).

Trial Attorney Elizabeth A. Strawn of the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandi Stewart for the Southern District of Ohio handled the matter.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only. And there has been no determination of liability.

Updated July 1, 2024

False Claims Act
Health Care Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-835