Hospice of the Bluegrass Inc. has agreed to pay the federal government $685,000 for submitting claims to Medicare to receive reimbursements for services it provided patients who did not qualify for Medicare services, officials announced Tuesday.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General said that, according to the settlement agreement, from Jan. 2002 to Dec. 31, 2008, Hospice submitted numerous such claims to Medicare.
U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey said the settlement returns a significant amount of money to the Medicare trust fund that should never have been paid out.
Five Hospice employees filed a "whistleblower" lawsuit against the company, claiming that it improperly billed for Medicare services. The federal False Claims Act, which they used, allows people to file suits against anyone who defrauds federal government programs.
The whistleblowers will receive $137,000 of the recovered money, according to officials.