OGCC Behavioral Services and Dionne Huffman pay $750,000.00 to settle False Claims Act allegations
ATLANTA – OGCC Behavioral Health Services, Inc. (“OGCC”) and its owner and Executive Director, Dionne Huffman, have agreed to pay $750,000 to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by, among other things, billing the government for services that they did not provide or were not provided in the way that OGCC said that they were.
“Medicaid beneficiaries have the right to receive quality care,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine. “We will continue to prioritize cases where the provider’s actions shortchange some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
“This settlement will serve to hold OGCC and Huffman accountable for stealing from Medicaid and the taxpayers of Georgia,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Philip Wislar. “These funds were intended to support citizens with mental health needs but were instead diverted to greedy fraudsters. The FBI encourages brave whistleblowers like Ms. Hawkins to continue to come forward to report such crimes to law enforcement.”
“It's disturbing when health care providers accept Medicare and Medicaid money meant to pay for the care of vulnerable patients, when in reality the providers either provided no services at all or otherwise misrepresented their services in order to steal from federal health care programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. “We will continue to hold dishonest health care providers accountable in order to ensure patients receive quality care and that taxpayer-funded programs are billed appropriately.”
“Georgians deserve to receive behavioral health services from qualified individuals, just as our programs were designed to provide. Through our Medicaid Fraud Division, we remain vigilant in our efforts to protect taxpayer dollars and to ensure they are used to serve the best interests of our vulnerable populations. Providers who choose to abuse or exploit our programs will be held accountable for their actions,” said Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.
OGCC is a CORE Services Provider for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. CORE providers are supposed to offer services to individuals who are experiencing emotional and behavioral difficulties, mental health problems, or addiction. The government alleges that, between 2014 and 2016, OGCC falsified the identity and qualifications of the health care providers to receive reimbursement at a higher rate, inflated the amount of time spent with patients, submitted claims for patient visits that never occurred, misrepresented dates of service, and fabricated documents in response to government scrutiny.
The settlement resolves allegations in a lawsuit filed by Latashia Hawkins, a former OGCC employee, under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which authorizes private parties to sue for false claims on behalf of the United States and share in the recovery. The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Georgia and is captioned United States and State of Georgia ex rel. Hawkins v. OGCC Behavioral Health Services, Inc., No. 1:15-cv-4380.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Georgia State Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division investigated this case.
The civil settlement was reached by Assistant U.S. Attorney Austin Hall and Georgia State Assistant Attorney General Sara Vann.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.