Skip to main content
Press Release

Martin’s Point Health Care Inc. to Pay $22,485,000 to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Martin’s Point Health Care Inc. (Martin’s Point), headquartered in Portland, Maine, has agreed to pay $22,485,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting inaccurate diagnosis codes for its Medicare Advantage Plan enrollees in order to increase reimbursements from Medicare.

Under Medicare Advantage, also known as the Medicare Part C program, Medicare beneficiaries have the option of enrolling in managed care insurance plans called Medicare Advantage Plans (MA Plans). MA Plans are paid a per-person amount to provide Medicare-covered benefits to beneficiaries who enroll in one of their plans. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees the Medicare program, adjusts the payments to MA Plans based on demographic information and the diagnoses of each plan beneficiary. The adjustments are commonly referred to as “risk scores.” In general, a beneficiary with diagnoses more expensive to treat will have a higher risk score, and CMS will make a larger risk-adjusted payment to the MA Plan for that beneficiary.

Martin’s Point operates Medicare Advantage plans for beneficiaries living in Maine and New Hampshire. The United States alleged that, from 2016 to 2019, Martin’s Point engaged in chart reviews of their Medicare Advantage beneficiaries to identify additional diagnosis codes that had not been submitted to Medicare. Many of the additional codes submitted, however, were not properly supported by the patients’ medical records. The government alleged that Martin’s Point nevertheless submitted those diagnosis codes, which resulted in higher payments from CMS.

“The government expects those who participate in Medicare Advantage to provide accurate information to ensure that proper payments are made for the care received by enrolled beneficiaries,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michael D. Granston of the Justice Department's Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch. “Today’s result sends a clear message to the Medicare Advantage community that the United States will take appropriate action against those who knowingly submit inflated claims for reimbursement.”

“It is a privilege for health plans to provide services to Medicare beneficiaries, not a right. Medicare Advantage Plan sponsors that submit inaccurate claim information in order to justify inflated payments undermine the financial integrity of the program,” said Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Christian J. Schrank at the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector (HHS-OIG). “HHS-OIG remains committed to protecting taxpayer-funded health care programs, including Medicare Advantage.”

The civil settlement includes the resolution of claims brought under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Alicia Wilbur, a former manager in Martin’s Point’s Risk Adjustment Operations group. Under those provisions, a private party can file an action on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of any recovery. The qui tam case is captioned U.S. ex rel. Wilbur v. Martin’s Point Health Care Inc., No. 2:18-cv-00254 (DME). As part of today’s resolution, the whistleblower will receive approximately $3.8 million.

The resolution obtained in this matter was the result of a coordinated effort between the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine, with assistance from HHS-OIG.

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).

The matter was handled by Trial Attorney J. Jennifer Koh of the Justice Department’s Civil Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Osborn and James Concannon for the District of Maine with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s in-house auditor.

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

Updated July 31, 2023

False Claims Act
Press Release Number: 23-831