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Archive for October, 2014

U.S. DOJ Settles Case Against DRS

Friday, October 17th, 2014

On October 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice settled a case against DRS Technical Services, Inc. (“DRS”), a defense contractor, regarding allegations of fraudulent billing for $13.7 million. Specifically, even though DRS employees did not meet the qualifications required of their positions by DRS’ contracts with the government, DRS billed for their work anyway, resulting in the government paying inflated rates for underqualified employees.

The allegations pertain to DRS’ billing practices between January 2003 and December 2012. At that time, DRS maintained contracts with the Army to provide satellite and wireless network solutions and telecommunication services. Much of this work was in support of the Army’s Iraq and Afghanistan operations and done in conjunction with Rapid Response (“R2″) contracts that permitted the Army to make procurement decisions quickly. Through its subsidiary, DRS provided the U.S. Coast Guard with aircraft maintenance and engineering support. The settlement does not make any findings as to DRS’ liability with regard to these allegations.

For more information, click here.

U.S. DOJ Settles Allegations Against Extendicare

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Thanks to the efforts of two whistleblowers, or relators, the U.S. Department of Justice and eight states announced on October 10, 2014 that they had settled allegations of fraudulent billing against Extendicare Health Services, Inc. (“Extendicare) and its subsidiary Progressive Step Corporation (“ProStep”). The U.S. government and the several states involved in the investigation alleged that Extendicare billed both Medicare and Medicaid for nursing services that were so deficient as to be worthless to the government and the patients. Likewise, the government alleged that ProStep billed Medicare for unnecessary rehabilitation procedures.

The settlement, worth $38 million, is the largest settlement the Department of Justice has ever announced involving allegations of failure of care at skilled nursing facilities operated by the same owner. Of that amount, the eight states will receive $5.7 million.

The alleged billing for worthless or unnecessary services occurred between 2007 and 2013 at 33 of Extendicare’s skilled nursing facilities. The government alleges, for example, that Extendicare did not adequately staff its nursing homes to care for the patients that were living there, failed to provide proper catheter care, and did not do enough to prevent falls and pressure ulcers. In addition, the government alleges that ProStep provided medically unnecessary rehabilitation services, particularly when a patient was undergoing care assessments, so that it could bill Medicare at the highest daily rate possible.

In addition, Extendicare has entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General’s Office that requires it and its subsidiary ProStep to enforce a comprehensive compliance program, address the quality of residents’ care, create a committee to address staffing needs, conduct internal audits, and retain an independent monitor selected by the Inspector General’s Office to check on Extendicare’s progress.

As a result of their assistance in alerting the government to the fraud and for their help during the investigation, the two relators will receive a portion of the government’s recovery. One relator will receive $1.8 million, and the other will receive $250,000.

For more information, please click here.

PAMELA COYLE BRECHT, ESQ. ELECTED PARTNER

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP is pleased to announce the election of its newest partner, Pamela Coyle Brecht, in its downtown Philadelphia office.  Ms. Brecht is an active member of the firm’s national Qui Tam Practice Group. She also has experience in employment law, complex commercial litigation, national labor relations, and white-collar criminal work.

She has been or is currently involved in litigating some of the most complex Qui Tam cases filed in the United States. Her cases have included alleged fraud by a large multi-state Medicaid managed care contractor, FCA violations by three of the largest hospital systems  in the country, complex financial relationships among healthcare providers, as well as cases alleging pharmaceutical fraud. She is also an integral part of the litigation team that is advancing one of the first national cases alleging fraud in the Medicare Part D program. As a member of a national qui tam practice, Ms. Brecht represents whistleblowers in cases that are pending in various federal district courts throughout the United States. To date, she has assisted in recovering millions of dollars for her clients through federal and state false claims actions.

Ms. Brecht received her B.A., cum laude, from Villanova University in 1988. She received her J.D. from Temple University School of Law in 1991. While attending Temple University School of Law, Ms. Brecht served as a member of the Temple Law Review, was on the Dean’s List, and received honors for Distinguished Class Performance. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Brehon Law Society.

Ms. Brecht frequently speaks, writes, and lectures on qui tam litigation and health care fraud issues. Some of her representative articles include: The Tar Heel State Steps Up Its Fight Against Fraud; The Tar Heel State Steps Up Its Fight Against Fraud – Part II; The Minnesota False Claims Act: Is It Minnesota Nice?; The Employment Protection and Anti-Discrimination Provisions of the New Jersey State False Claims Act; The ‘New’ New Jersey False Claims Act: It Was Born to Run.

Ms. Brecht has served as an adjunct professor of law at the Hamline School of Law, St. Paul MN, where she co-lectured on health care fraud and the False Claims Act. She is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, and has been admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

 
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