Indiana Home Health Companies to Pay $1.5 Million in Fraud Settlement

Indianapolis-based United Home Healthcare, Inc. and B&L Personal Services, Inc. — known collectively as United, and owned and operated by Byron and Laura Harris — have settled charges that they were billing for services they didn’t provide.

The civil settlement, announced by Josh J. Minkler, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, will result in a total payment of $1.5 million to the United States and the state of Indiana.

In 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the State of Indiana Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit began investigating a complaint that United was billing for services that it did not actually provide, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reports.

Agents and investigators with HHS and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office interviewed patients and former employees, and reviewed multiple patient files, which showed that from 2012 through 2014, United had engaged in a pattern of overfilling services, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Shelese Woods.

Specifically, the patient files and corresponding billing data showed that many services billed for personal care and attendant care services were not documented; that there were dates for which United was reimbursed where the patient file showed that the patient did not receive the service; or that United over-billed the number of service hours actually provided to the patient, according to the DOJ.

Under the False Claims Act, the government may collect three times the loss it incurred, plus a fine of $5,500 to $11,000 for each false bill submitted. The estimated loss to the Medicaid program was $589,042.60 for thousands of individual claims, Woods said. United is paying $1.45 million to the United States, which is more than two times the estimated loss. United has also agreed to pay more than $45,000 to the state of Indiana for its investigative fees and costs.

Though it agreed to these terms, United denied all liability under the False Claims Act.

“The civil False Claims Act was created to serve as a tool for combating fraud, waste and abuse in federally funded programs,” Minkler said in a statement.  “A financial injury to the United States is a financial injury to all of us. This recovery sends the message that health care providers must comply with various applicable state and federal regulations when billing the United States Government for services, or they will face consequences.”

Written by Emily Study