Federal Government Seeks Millions From Nursing Home Chain Involved in Medicare Fraud

The Federal Government is seeking treble damages from Life Care Centers of America, a nationwide nursing home chain accused of filing fraudulent Medicare claims. The whistleblower lawsuit, initiated by a former staff development coordinator and former occupational therapist for Life Care, sets out detailed allegations of company-wide medicare fraud.

According to court documents, Life Care filed claims with Medicare for services that were unnecessary and potentially harmful to patients. The complaint asserts that since 2006 the company has maximized the number of days that can be billed at "ultra high" Medicare rates. These rates receive the most reimbursement from Medicare and are intended for only the most complex cases.  However, according to the complaint, Life Care billed nearly double the amount of ultra high therapy when compared the national average.

The suit also claims that frail and weak patients were forced to undergo strenuous therapy not appropriate for their strength levels. Life Care also forced therapists to keep patients in the facility as long as possible. This practice sometimes resulted in unnecessarily exhausting patients' Medicare days.

Life Care encouraged employees to put profits over individual patient needs. When therapists complained of the unnecessary and harmful practices, they were often terminated within weeks. Now, the whistleblower lawsuit has been unsealed and the government is seeking millions of dollars in damages from the company. Life Care operates more than 200 nursing homes nationwide and has received over $4 billion in Medicare reimbursements since 2006. For more, read the complaint.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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