ALLEGATIONS AGAINST RESPIRATORY THERAPY COMPANY SETTLED UNDER THE FALSE CLAIMS ACT
North Atlantic Medical Services Inc. (NAMS), a medical device company that provides equipment and services for treatment of respiratory ailments, reached an agreement to pay $852,378 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act. The Department of Justice announced that NAMS agreed to pay this settlement due to submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for services provided by unlicensed personnel. NAMS was doing business as Regional Home Care Inc. and was based in Massachusetts.
Under Massachusetts law, Medicare and Medicaid require suppliers of respiratory therapy equipment and services to comply with state licensing standards. Respiratory therapists must apply for and obtain a license. It was alleged that between September 2010 and January 2013, NAMS utilized unlicensed employees to set up sleep apnea masks and oxygen therapy equipment for patients residing in Massachusetts. NAMS continued to bill Medicare and Medicaid for services provided by unlicensed employees after the Massachusetts Department of Public Health informed them that this practice was illegal. Former NAMS employees, Konstantinos Gakis and Demetri Papageorgiou, filed the lawsuit under the False Claims Act. Together the whistleblowers will share in the government’s recovery and will receive $153, 428.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which paid in part for the Medicaid claims at issue, will recover $229, 210. Special Agent in Charge Phillip M. Coyne for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of Inspector General stated, “To safeguard patient health and ensure that taxpayer money is spent well, Medicare and Medicaid require providers of respiratory care services to follow state licensure rules. Companies seeking to boost profits by using unlicensed personnel will be held accountable for their actions.”