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Amedisys “bilking the system”?

“Home health services are a large and growing part of our federal health care system. Health care dollars must be reserved to pay for services needed by patients, not to enrich providers who are bilking the system.”

These are the words of Sally Quillian Yates, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, in commenting on a settlement reached with Amedisys, the Baton Rouge, LA based home health company.  Amedisys will pay $150 million to resolve allegations that it inflated Medicare billings and had improper financial relationships with referring physicians, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Amedisys is one of the nation’s largest home health providers, operating in 37 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.  The agreement resolves False Claims Act allegations that, between 2008 and 2010, some Amedisys offices billed Medicare for unnecessary services and for patients who were not homebound and misrepresented patients’ conditions to increase its Medicare payments.

The settlement also resolves seven whistleblower lawsuits, six in Pennsylvania and one in Georgia.  The whistleblowers, mostly former Amedisys workers, will split more than $26 million.

What do you think about this situation?  What impact does a news story like this have on the perception of home health care in America?  Give us your comments.

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