Extendicare Health Services Inc. Agrees to Pay $38 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations Relating to the Provision of Substandard Nursing Care and Medically Unnecessary Rehabilitation Therapy

Extendicare Health Services Inc. (Extendicare) and its subsidiary Progressive Step Corporation (ProStep) have agreed to pay $38 million to the United States and eight states to resolve allegations that Extendicare billed Medicare and Medicaid for materially substandard nursing services that were so deficient that they were effectively worthless and billed Medicare for medically unreasonable and unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services, the Justice Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) jointly announced today.  This resolution is the largest failure of care settlement with a chain-wide skilled nursing facility in the department’s history.

As part of this settlement, Extendicare has also been required to enter into a five year chain-wide Corporate Integrity Agreement with HHS-OIG.  Extendicare is a Delaware corporation that, through its subsidiaries, operates 146 skilled nursing facilities in 11 states.  ProStep provides physical, speech, and occupational rehabilitation services.

“Our seniors rely on the Medicare and Medicaid programs to provide them with quality care, ensuring that they are treated with dignity and respect when they are most vulnerable,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery.  “It is critically important that we confront nursing home operators who put their own economic gain ahead of the needs of their residents.  Operators who bill Medicare and Medicaid while failing to provide essential services or bill for services so grossly substandard as to be effectively worthless will be pursued for false claims.”

This settlement resolves allegations that between 2007 and 2013, in 33 of its skilled nursing homes in eight states, Extendicare billed Medicare and Medicaid for materially substandard skilled nursing services and failed to provide care to its residents that met federal and state standards of care and regulatory requirements.  The government alleges, for example, that Extendicare failed to have a sufficient number of skilled nurses to adequately care for its skilled nursing residents; failed to provide adequate catheter care to some of the residents and failed to follow the appropriate protocols to prevent pressure ulcers or falls.  The eight states involved in this component of the settlement are Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.

“The continued viability of Medicare depends, in large part, on the honesty and integrity of the program participants,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Civil Division.  “Health care providers must make decisions regarding the level of services to be provided based solely on their patients’ clinical needs, and not corporate financial targets.”

via Extendicare Health Services Inc. Agrees to Pay $38 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations Relating to the Provision of Substandard Nursing Care and Medically Unnecessary Rehabilitation Therapy | OPA | Department of Justice.

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