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Press Release

Comfort Care Medical Equpment, Inc. And Its Owner Agree To Pay $352,800 To Settle False Claims Act Allegations Regarding Its Submission Of False Claims For Compression Garments

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – Comfort Care Medical Equipment, Inc. (“Comfort Care”) and one of its owners, Patrick Chalmers, have agreed to pay the United States $352,800 to resolve allegations that they violated the federal False Claims Act by submitting false claims to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which administers the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) (collectively, the “United States”).  Comfort Care is a durable medical equipment provider that provides compression and lymphedema garments, for various body parts including legs and arms, to patients.   Patrick Chalmers was an owner of Comfort Care.  He owned 100% of its stock and served as Comfort Care’s President from September 2005 until December 31, 2019. 

            The civil settlement was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron, and Special Agent in Charge for the OPM Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Derek M. Holt. 

The civil investigation was opened by the United States Attorney’s Office based upon a referral from OPM, OIG regarding excessive billings.  Comfort Care billed almost all compression stockings (arms, legs, bras, etc.) utilizing HCPCS Code A6459 (gradient compression garment, not otherwise specified).  According to the contract that Comfort Care had with Care First, which administered the FEHBP plan, Comfort Care could utilize this code only if no other HCPCS code could be billed for the compression garment provided.  Once the A6549 HCPCS code was used, Comfort Care could bill FEHBP contracted plans for any amount and would be reimbursed at 65% of that amount.

“Federal contractors are required to bill the appropriate code for services rendered, not the code that puts the most money in their pockets.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners are committed to ferreting out unlawful compliance with government contracts," said U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron.   

“False claims threaten the integrity of the FEHBP and can make health care more expensive for American taxpayers,” said Special Agent in Charge Derek M. Holt, OPM OIG.  “I applaud our investigative staff and partners at the Department of Justice for their hard work on this case.”

The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations.  The settlement is not an admission of liability by Comfort Care nor a concession by the United States that its claims are not well-founded.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Office of the Inspector General, for its work in this investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Corcoran and Sarah Marquardt, who handled the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to report fraud, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/report-fraud.   

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Contact

USAMD.Press@usdoj.gov

Updated May 14, 2024

Topic
False Claims Act