May 5, 2022. The United States Attorney’s Offices for the Western District of Kentucky (Louisville) and the Southern District of Florida (Miami) announced a False Claims Act settlement with Signature HomeNow, which has operated home healthcare services in Florida and its corporate headquarters located in Louisville, Kentucky. The home healthcare company was alleged to have received Medicare dollars for patients for home health care services that were not provided or not medically necessary; and for paying kickbacks to doctors for patient referrals. “Overbilling Medicare by submitting false claims increases the cost of medical care for all and undermines the integrity of the Medicare program,” said the United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.
Tycko & Zavareei LLP Partners Renée Brooker and Eva Gunasekera, in partnership with the Natalie Khawam of the Whistleblower Law Firm LLP, represented the whistleblowers.
These allegations were brought DOJ’s attention by two registered nurses who were former Directors of Nursing at different locations of the home healthcare company. Under the terms of the settlement, Signature HomeNow sold its assets to a third party and paid $2.1 million to the United States. In turn, the United States awarded the whistleblowers 17 percent of the settlement for reporting the allegations to the Government.
Prosecutors in both districts are commended for their outstanding investigation and favorable resolution of this case, led by Louisville Civil Chief Ben Schecter and assisted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica Malloy (Louisville), and James A. Weinkle and John Spaccarotella (both of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida). Their exhaustive work on the case led to the restoration of these funds to the Medicare program.
Medicare makes payments to home health agencies under the the Home Health Prospective Payment System, through which home health agencies are reimbursed for “reasonable and necessary” medical services and supplies provided to patients in 60-day blocks of time. Payment amounts vary based on the severity of the patient’s condition and details of the physician’s care plan.
The Justice Department needs whistleblowers to help it fight Medicare and Medicaid fraud in home healthcare companies. If you would like to report healthcare fraud, you can contact attorneys at Tycko & Zavareei LLP. Eva Gunasekera and Renée Brooker are former officials of the United States Department of Justice and prosecuted whistleblower cases under the False Claims Act. Eva was the Senior Counsel for Health Care Fraud. Renée served as Assistant Director at the United States Department of Justice, the office that supervises False Claims Act cases in all 94 United States District Courts. Eva and Renée now represent whistleblowers. For a free consultation, you can contact Renée at [email protected] (tel.: 202-417-3664) or contact Eva Gunasekera at [email protected]. You can also go to Tycko & Zavareei LLP’s website for whistleblowers to learn more at https://www.fraudfighters.net/.