The state of Massachusetts sued Universal Health Services in federal court last week, accusing it of illegally charging Medicaid for outpatient mental health services by unqualified staff.
Massachusetts' complaint will be added to that of Julio Escobar and Carmen Correa, who first filed suit on behalf of their daughter who died at a UHS facility.
The state alleges that UHS submitted false claims to MassHealth program, charging for mental healthcare given by unlicensed personnel. UHS is accused of propagating a culture of noncompliance that emphasized profit over good clinical practices throughout its facilities, not just in Massachusetts. Earlier this year, a Buzzfeed investigation alleged the for-profit hospital operator kept psychiatric patients longer than necessary to milk their insurance.
UHS did not respond to a request for comment, but the company has fought back against previous allegations.
In a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Escobar case, the high court supported the theory that a company can be held liable if its employees falsely certify compliance with all applicable laws and regulations when submitting claims to Medicaid or Medicare.