U.S. joins whistleblower suit against ambulance company alleging $20 million kickbacks for contracts

The Department of Justice has joined a whistleblower case against Paramedics Plus LLC, a large ambulance companies, asserting that is has been engaged in a 15 year kickbacks scheme. defrauding the government of $20 million. The lawsuit alleges that the company paid $20 million in kickbacks to Oklahoma’s Emergency Medical Services  and its President Herbert Stephen Williamson in cash, political contributions and other expenses for lucrative contracts for ambulance services.

Paramedics Plus said the government’s claim for hundreds of millions in damages “threatens to destroy an entire system of hospitals upon which thousands of East Texans depend for medical care,” all without any claim that Medicare or Medicaid lost even one penny. There are no allegations the EMSA inflated its charges or overbilled, and there’s no claim that patients received substandard care, it said.

The EMSA is a public trust entity, which is run by public employees and owns and leases ambulances, but doesn’t have its own drivers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, the DOJ said in its complaint. Those services are what Paramedics Plus contracted to provide. The EMSA would then bill Medicare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, private payors and patients for those services.

The government alleges that if there were kickbacks involved, then the billings to the government were fraudulent.

The complaint alleges East Texas Medical Center and Paramedics Plus created a slush fund, which was used to pay the kickbacks in the form of cash — $50,000 of which was just for Williamson — political contributions, marketing expenses and payments to other EMSA contractors.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers