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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 10, 2021

Dubuque Care Facility’s Owner Agrees to Repay Federal Medicaid Funds to Resolve Allegations Relating to COVID-19 Screening Procedures

Care Initiatives, a Texas corporation with a home office in West Des Moines, Iowa, has agreed to repay the United States $214,200 to resolve claims the United States was entitled to restitution for the federal share of Medicaid funds the facility received for an approximately 10 week period while residents at Dubuque Specialty Care, a Care Initiatives facility, were suffering from or testing positive for COVID-19.  The United States alleged that repayment of these funds was warranted due to Dubuque Specialty Care’s practices surrounding COVID-19 infections, including the facility’s procedures and criteria for screening symptomatic employees.

Care Initiatives cooperated during the investigation and did not admit to any liability as part of the settlement agreement.  

“Our office expects that recipients of federal healthcare funds take appropriate steps to maintain beneficiary safety, to protect our district’s most vulnerable residents, and to ensure their practices comport with recognized standards, especially during this unprecedented time,” said Acting United States Attorney Sean R. Berry.  

“Being a healthcare provider in the Medicare and Medicaid programs is a privilege, not a right. It is incumbent upon these providers to protect the safety of beneficiaries under their care, especially during this pandemic,” said Special Agent in Charge Curt L. Muller of Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. “Our investigators, working closely with our law enforcement partners, will continue to thoroughly investigate allegations of substandard safety practices.”

Individuals with direct knowledge of facilities in the Northern District of Iowa failing to comply with recognized standards and procedures during the pandemic are encouraged to report any such failures to the appropriate authorities, including the United States Attorney’s Office.  The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Jake Schunk and investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. 

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Topic(s): 
False Claims Act
Health Care Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated May 10, 2021