Dubuque Clinic Agrees to Pay $40,000 in False Claims Penalties To Resolve Allegations Related to 8 Controlled Substance Refills
Crescent Community Health Center, a non-profit health center in Dubuque, Iowa, agreed to pay $40,000 in penalties to resolve False Claims Act allegations that, during a five month period in 2013, Crescent employees who lacked the requisite credentials or authority issued 8 controlled substance refills that were paid for by Medicare or Medicaid. The Center also agreed to pay $7,503.80 to resolve allegations that, during this same period, Crescent employees improperly issued 71 prescriptions or prescription refills for non-controlled substances that were eventually paid for by Medicare or Medicaid.
The Center did not concede liability as part of the agreement but did admit that the 8 controlled substance refills were not supported by documentation that the prescriptions were authorized by qualified practitioners.
“Health care providers should be on notice that our office will use every appropriate enforcement tool to curb the availability of unauthorized or misused prescription drugs,” said United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. “This office takes seriously its obligation to enforce the nation’s laws aimed at protecting public health and taxpayer dollars.”
The allegations resolved by the settlement arose from an investigation jointly conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the State of Iowa’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. False Claims Act cases also arise under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the Act, which permit a private party with knowledge of false claims to bring suit on behalf of the United States and then share in any recovery.
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