U.S. Attorney announces $3.5 million settlement with Westwood Mental Health LLC
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a Shreveport community mental health center, Westwood Mental Health LLC, and its parent company, MedSouth LLC, have agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute allegations.
The settlement results from Westwood’s self-disclosure to the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS OIG) through the OIG’s Provider Self-Disclosure Protocol. According to the self-disclosure and the investigation that followed, from 2006 through 2009, the United States alleged that Westwood falsified patient records, billed for services not medically necessary, billed for services that were not rendered, provided bribes to Medicare beneficiaries who did not qualify for partial hospitalization services and provided bribes and/or kickbacks to employees to further or conceal the fraud.
“Reaching this settlement through the self-disclosure process demonstrates what the health care community and law enforcement can achieve by working together,” Finley stated. “When Westwood discovered the problems, it brought the matter to the attention of the HHS Office of Inspector General, and in doing so avoided the costs associated with a protracted investigation and the risk of potential fines under the False Claims Act.”
Healthcare fraud poses a serious risk to the integrity of our health care system, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to aggressively pursuing healthcare providers who seek public funds through unlawful means. The United States encourages all health care providers to self-disclose any known violations that have resulted in the submission of improper claims to federal health care programs.
This case was handled by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen J. King represented the United States.
The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.