A group of emergency services staffing and billing firms -- EMSCO Billing Services, formerly of Hinsdale, Ill., and National Emergency Services and NES Holdings, both of Raleigh, N.C. -- will pay more than $1.1 million to settle allegations that they falsely billed Medicare and the Illinois and Maine Medicaid programs. The government alleged that EMSCO, NES and NES Holdings, which purchased EMSCO in 1994, submitted false claims for emergency services at Chicago-area hospitals from 1990 to 1999. They also allegedly overbilled Maine's Medicaid program. The defendants denied wrongdoing in the settlement, which stems from two civil whistleblower lawsuits joined by the government in 2001 and 2002. Whistleblower claims are pending against EMSCO founders Robert Tetik and his former wife. Steven Cohen, a Chicago attorney who represents the whistleblowers, said a government audit found that the companies had falsely billed the Illinois Medicaid program by more than $10 million. "By the time the government's investigation was concluded, these same defendants claimed an inability to pay anything close to the real losses the programs incurred," Cohen said. -- by Mark Taylor
Emergency services firms settle false claims case
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