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$38M Settlement Reached in Extendicare Health Services Fraud Whistleblower Lawsuit


Los Angeles, CA: Extendicare Health Services Inc. (Extendicare) and its subsidiary Progressive Step Corporation (ProStep) have agreed to pay $38 million to the United States and eight states to resolve allegations that Extendicare billed Medicare and Medicaid for materially substandard elder care nursing services that were so deficient that they were effectively worthless and billed Medicare for medically unreasonable and unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services, the Justice Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) jointly announced today. This resolution is the largest failure of care settlement with a chain-wide skilled nursing facility in the department' history. Investigators were tipped off by whistleblowers at Extendicare.

As part of this settlement, Extendicare has also been required to enter into a five year chain-wide Corporate Integrity Agreement with HHS-OIG. Extendicare is a Delaware corporation that, through its subsidiaries, operates 146 skilled nursing facilities in 11 states. ProStep provides physical, speech, and occupational rehabilitation services.

This settlement resolves allegations that between 2007 and 2013, in 33 of its skilled nursing homes in eight states, Extendicare billed Medicare and Medicaid for materially substandard skilled nursing services and failed to provide care to its residents that met federal and state standards of care and regulatory requirements. The government alleges, for example, that Extendicare failed to have a sufficient number of skilled nurses to adequately care for its skilled nursing residents; failed to provide adequate catheter care to some of the residents and failed to follow the appropriate protocols to prevent pressure ulcers or falls. The eight states involved in this component of the settlement are Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.

Additionally, this settlement resolves allegations that between 2007 and 2013, in 33 of its skilled nursing homes, Extendicare provided medically unreasonable and unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services to its Medicare Part A beneficiaries, particularly during the patients' assessment reference periods, so that it could bill Medicare for those patients at the highest per diem rate possible.

As a result of the settlement, the federal government will receive $32.3 million and the eight state Medicaid programs will receive $5.7 million. The Medicaid program is funded jointly by the federal and state governments.

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Published on Oct-14-14


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