Friday, August 12, 2022

N.C. Attorney general announces $11.2M settlement with nursing care provider

North Carolina, along with 22 other states, ended litigation against SavaSeniorCare with an $11.2-million settlement.

The Georgia-based company owns and operates skilled nursing facilities in several states, which alleged Sava billed Medicaid for medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services. The lawsuit also alleged Sava offered substandard skilled nursing services.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced the settlement Friday, reporting North Carolina will receive $192,045 in restitution and recoveries. The multimillion-dollar settlement is being distributed amongst all states involved, as well as the federal government.

“Health care providers have a responsibility to provide quality care for their patients and be responsible stewards of taxpayer resources,” Stein said in a press release. “When they fail to do so, I will hold them accountable on behalf of North Carolinians.”

This settlement results from four whistleblower lawsuits filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A team from the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units participated in the settlement negotiations on behalf of the states. 

For four years, Sava allegedly engaged in a scheme to maximize billing and caused therapist to provide “unreasonable and unnecessary” rehabilitation services to some beneficiaries. The therapy was not covered by the Medicare Part A and Medicaid coinsurance benefits.

The settlement also alleges that from January 2008 to December 2018, some of the nursing services provided by Sava were “grossly and materially substandard.” The release states Sava failed to provide care that met federal requirements for residents. It also failed to follow appropriate pressure ulcer protocols, appropriate fall protocols and did not administer some medications properly.

The government determined Sava’s conduct violated the Federal False Claims Statute and North Carolina False Claims Statue due to the illegal claims in the Medicaid program.

The attorney general’s Medicaid investigations division investigates fraud and abuse by health care providers as well as patient abuse and neglect. To date, MID has recovered more than $900 million in restitution for N.C.

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