Ambulance Company Settles Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Lawsuit for $2.8 Million
A privately-owned ambulance company based in Arizona, and which serves 20 other states, has agreed to settle a whistleblower Medicare fraud lawsuit for $2.8 million.
Authorities allege that between 2007 and 2011, the parent company, Rural/Metro, and its affiliates in New York, Arizona, Delaware, and Oregon defrauded the Medicare trust fund by billing for emergency ambulance services which were not actually emergencies. Medicare pays substantially higher payouts for emergency ambulance reimbursement than for non-emergency calls.
“The need to protect federal funds, including the Medicare trust fund, from fraud, waste and abuse has never been greater,” John Leonardo, U.S. Attorney for Arizona, said in a statement. “This settlement agreement is a substantial recovery for taxpayers and sends a clear message that the federal government will not stand idly by when its programs lose money due to false claims for payment.”
Leonardo added that the government chose to settle the Medicare fraud case in order to avoid prolonged litigation. Under the terms of the settlement, Rural/Metro does not admit any wrongdoing, but will remain subject to investigations from the Internal Revenue Service, and any potential criminal liability that comes up with further investigations into the company’s practices.
“The company agreed to settle the matter in order to avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation and to maintain focus on ensuring its patients continue to receive high quality emergency medical care,” a statement from Rural/Metro read.
The company also, and unrelatedly, filed for bankruptcy and is undergoing restructuring efforts. Rural/Metro says those efforts will continue while they pay the Medicare fraud settlement.
The Strom Law Firm Protects Medicare Fraud Whistleblowers in South Carolina
It is a provision of the Federal Civil False Claims Act that allows a private citizen to file a suit, in the name of the U.S. Government, charging fraud by government contractors and other entities that receive or use government funds. Bolstered by amendments passed by Congress in 1986, the law has armed private citizens who have independent and direct knowledge of fraud, whether financial institution fraud or Medicare fraud, with a weapon to prosecute government contractors and others who are defrauding the Government.
Common whistle blower actions include:
- Medicare fraud,
- defense contractor fraud, and
- other kinds of fraud against state or federal government
Qui tam lawsuits have been, and continue to be, a very effective and successful tool in combating government procurement and program fraud. If you have first-hand knowledge of government fraud occurring at your place of employment or your doctor’s office, including Medicare fraud, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help protect your rights. In order to help the government provide the best possible services, Medicaid and Medicare fraud must be reported as soon as possible. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the complexity of qui tam and whistleblower suits, and we offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today. 803.252.4800