A California company that provides oxygen tanks to people with breathing problems has agreed to pay $11.4 million to resolve a whistleblower claim that it and its general partner violated the False Claims Act by submitting improper claims to federal health care programs. Braden Partners LP, which does business as Pacific Pulmonary Services, allegedly sought reimbursement from Medicare, Tricare and federal employee health benefits programs for home oxygen and oxygen equipment that was supplied in violation of those programs’ rules.
The settlement resolves those claims against PPS and its general partner, Teijin Pharma USA LLC. Other claims involving sleep therapy equipment supplied as part of a kickback scheme with sleep clinics were also settled. “Home oxygen equipment and related supplies are some of the most fraudulently billed items of durable medical equipment,” Steven J. Ryan, the special agent in charge from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, said in a statement. “Medicare suppliers more concerned with profits than compliance will be met with investigation and enforcement.”
The government says the improper conduct began in 2004 when PPS started submitting claims to federal health care programs for home oxygen and oxygen equipment without getting a doctor’s authorization, which the programs require. Two years later, some of the company’s employees then began to refer patients to sleep testing clinics in exchange for those clinics’ promise to refer their patients to PPS for sleep therapy equipment. Brian J. Stretch, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, said in a statement:
Patients in federal health care programs expect and deserve medical care that is free from any undue influence and complies with the program safeguards that are in place to protect patients.
The suit was initially filed in 2010 by a former PPS sales representative, Manuel Alcaine, who will receive $1.824 million of the recovered money. The case is Alcaine v. Braden Partners LP, et al. (case number 4:10-cv-04597) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.