2018-02-23 / Front Page

North East agrees to pay $825,000 in civil settlement

The Times Record


North East Mobile Health Services of Scarborough will pay $825,000 through a civil settlement agreement with the U.S. to resolve allegations it violated the federal False Claims Act by providing medically unnecessary ambulance transportation.

United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced the terms of the civil settlement agreement Friday and noted that Maine Medical Center in Portland also agreed to pay $600,000 pursuant to a separate civil settlement.   

According to a press release, North East’s settlement resolves allegations that it improperly billed Medicare for non-emergency ambulance transportation of patients discharged from MMC from 2007 onward. The government alleged that North East improperly billed Medicare for ambulance transports of patients it falsely claimed were either “bed-confined” or for whom such transport was otherwise medically necessary. 

The settlement also resolves allegations that North East knowingly retained Medicare overpayments.

Similarly, MMC’s settlement resolves allegations that MMC personnel provided North East with statements containing incomplete or inaccurate information about the medical necessity of transporting patients by ambulance, which North East thereafter used to bill Medicare.

Both North East and MMC cooperated with the investigation, Frank reports. Federal authorities encourage health care providers to cooperate with investigations involving the possible submission of false claims to federal programs.

The case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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