Transportation Services Provider And Its Principal Agree To Settle False Claims Act Allegations
Principal And Provider Agree To 9-Year Exclusion From Federal Health Care Programs As Part Of Settlement
Nashville based Employment & Assessment Solutions, Inc. (“EASI”), and its principal, Chris Manus, have agreed to pay $550,000 to settle allegations that they violated the False Claims Act, announced Jack Smith, Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. The alleged conduct involved the submission of false claims for payment to TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid Program, for the provision of transportation services to TennCare beneficiaries. Mr. Manus and EASI have each also agreed to a nine-year exclusion from Medicaid, Medicare, and all Federal Health Care programs.
“Enforcement of the False Claims Act is a priority of the Department of Justice and this Office,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith. “The already overburdened Medicaid Program simply cannot withstand making payments for services that were never rendered. Anytime we discover violations of the False Claims Act, where corporations are seeking to enrich themselves through dishonest methods, we will seek the appropriate remedy for the offending corporation and its principals.”
The settlement resolves allegations by the United States and State of Tennessee that EASI and Manus, caused the submission of false claims to TennCare for transportation services which were never provided, including claims for patients who were actually incarcerated or hospitalized at the time of the purported transport. The alleged conduct occurred between January 2, 2010, and April 30, 2014.
Under the terms of the settlement, the United States will receive $302,775 and the State of Tennessee will receive $247,225.
"This company allegedly billed TennCare for ghost transports where the program was paying for an empty seat as if it contained a patient," said Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General in Atlanta. "This is the most egregious type of False Claims Act violation - where no service was actually provided and the company got paid for doing nothing."
“The public rightfully expects funds to go to those patients who need these services,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “We are fortunate to have a strong relationship with our federal and state law enforcement partners in continuing to pursue allegations of false claims.”
“Pursuing violations of the False Claims Act protects Tennessee tax dollars and sends a strong message to individuals attempting to take advantage of the system,” Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III said. “Our office will continue to work with our state and federal partners to combat healthcare fraud.”
This matter was investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah K. Bogni. The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.