This week, it was announced that seven ambulance industry defendants had agreed to pay the government more than $21 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit, which alleged that they knowingly submitted claims to the Medicaid and Medicare programs that violated the Anti-Kickback Statute. The settlements resolve allegations brought forth by a whistleblower.
Dr. Dean alleged that East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System and East Texas Medical Center Regional Health Services and their affiliate ambulance company, Paramedics Plus LLC, offered kickbacks to several municipal entities to secure their lucrative ambulance business including Emergency Medical Services Authority, Alameda County, California, and Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services in Florida.
The False Claims Act allows private parties to file suit for false claims on behalf of the United States. It also allows the United States to intervene in such suits and it did so here. Before getting involved in Dr. Dean’s suit, the United States settled with Alameda County and Pinellas EMSA. After filing a suit against the ETMC defendants, Paramedics Plus, EMSA and former president and CEO, Herbert Stephen Williamson, the United States settled with Paramedics Plus and ETMC defendants for $20.649 million. They settled with EMSA for $300,000.
Williamson has agreed to pay the State of Oklahoma and the United States $80,000. Further details have been made available here.