Nursing home operator Vanguard Healthcare agreed to pay the U.S. and Tennessee $2 million to settle allegations that a defunct subsidiary inappropriately billed Medicare and Medicaid for enteral feeding services and supplies.
Nursing home firm to pay $2 million settlement
The settlement resolves a False Claims Act lawsuit filed by a former operations director of a nursing home in Madison, Tenn., acquired by Brentwood, Tenn.-based Vanguard in 1998, which triggered an investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in Nashville.
According to the settlement agreement, the government alleged that Vanguard Healthcare Ancillary Services billed Medicare and Medicaid for the same goods and services, submitted Medicare claims for pumps and other items that were provided free by suppliers “to induce referrals,” and failed to disclose the relationship between the long-term care facilities and Vanguard Healthcare Ancillary Services.
The agreement stipulates that Vanguard does not concede liability by settling. In a statement, the company said it “disputes the validity of these claims and denies any wrongdoing,” and describes accepting pumps from feeding-tube suppliers as a “once-common industry practice.”
The agreement calls for the company to pay the U.S. $1.9 million and $119,000 to the state of Tennessee. The company also was compelled to enter a five-year corporate integrity agreement with HHS' inspector general's office.
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