Kindred Healthcare pays $3 million to U.S. for faulty billing

HHS’ Office of Inspector General said Tuesday that the massive post-acute care provider failed to correct improper billing practices during the fourth year of its five-year corporate integrity agreement, stemming from a prior $25 million False Claims Act settlement with Gentiva Healthcare. Kindred acquired Gentiva in a $1.8 billion deal.According to OIG, Medicare was charged for hospice care even though patients weren’t eligible for those high reimbursement services.The corporate integrity agreement stems from a March 2012 settlement with Gentiva and its subsidiary Odyssey HealthCare, over Medicare billing for some hospice services. The alleged false claims were submitted from 2006 through 2009.

Kindred’s internal auditors had discovered that Kindred and its predecessors didn’t implement the policies and procedures required of them to correct Medicare billing issues. Ultimately, that led to significant billing error rates and overpayments while the company was under federal supervision.

The current corporate integrity agreement stems from a March 2012 t with Gentiva and its subsidiary Odyssey HealthCare, over Medicare billing for some hospice services. The alleged false claims were submitted from 2006 through 2009.

The Louisville, Ky.-based post-acute care provider has also shut down 18 of its allegedly underperforming facilities, OIG said.

Kindred had other False Claims Act troubles this year when, in January, a subsidiary paid a $125 million over allegations that it knowingly caused contracted facilities to inappropriately bill Medicare. RehabCare allegedly set unrealistic financial goals for its contractors and scheduled patient therapy in order to maximize reimbursements, rather than considering what was best for the patient.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers and was counsel in the case of the United States ex rel Janet Halpin et als v RehabCare which settled for $125 million this January.