Rutledge, Other Attorneys General, Reach Settlement with Millennium HealthTue, Dec 1, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, joined by 48 other States and the District of Columbia, today announced that Arkansas will receive $121,568.64 as part of a $256 million settlement with Millennium Health, formerly Millennium Laboratories, to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act for billing Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care programs for medically unnecessary urine drug and genetic testing and for providing free items to physicians who agreed to refer expensive laboratory testing business to Millennium. Millennium, headquartered in San Diego, is one of the largest urine drug testing laboratories in the U.S. and conducts business nationwide.
“It is horrible to think that patients would be subjected to tests because one of the largest drug testing laboratories in the U.S. wants to increase its profit,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Companies who take advantage of Arkansas patients and steal from Medicaid and Medicare will not be tolerated.”
The States alleged that Millennium caused physicians to order excessive numbers of urine drug tests, which instead of being tailored to individual patients were standing orders that failed to consider an individualized assessment of each patient’s needs. This practice violated federal health care program rules that limit payment to services which are reasonable and medically necessary for the treatment and diagnosis of a patient’s illness or injury. The States also alleged that Millennium violated the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute, which generally prohibit laboratories from giving physicians anything of value in exchange for referrals of tests.
As part of the settlement, Millennium has agreed to pay $227 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations that they systematically billed federal health care programs for excessive and unnecessary urine drug testing from Jan. 1, 2008, through May 20, 2015. Millennium has also agreed to pay $10 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations that it submitted false claims to federal health care programs from Jan. 1, 2012, through May 20, 2015, for genetic testing that was performed routinely and without an individualized assessment of need.
In connection with the False Claims Act, Millennium has also entered into a corporate integrity agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General. In addition, Millennium will pay $19.2 million to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to resolve certain administrative actions related to Millennium’s urine drug test billing practices.
A team representing the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units conducted settlement negotiations with Millennium Health on behalf of the States. Team members included representatives of the Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New York and Washington Medicaid Fraud Control Units. The States coordinated their investigation in conjunction with the Department of Justice Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation branch and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Warren Woman for Adult AbuseMon, Nov 23, 2015
WARREN – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of a Bradley County woman by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Haley Lewis, 29, of Warren was arrested on one count of abuse of an endangered or impaired person, a Class D felony. Lewis turned herself in to the Warren Police Department and was released on a $2,500 bond on Nov. 13. She is accused of pushing a resident to the floor and kicking the patient at the Southeast Arkansas Human Development Center on Aug. 13.
Rutledge Announces Charges Against Highest Billers within Mental Health Practitioner ProgramThu, Nov 19, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that a five-month investigation by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) has culminated in 20 felony charges against the two highest billers in the Arkansas Medical Licensed Mental Health Practitioner Program. Over the past three years, Al Dodds, 55, of Camden and Joseph Brannon Randolph, 41, of Fayetteville have billed the Medicaid program $1.3 million.
A Felony Information document was filed today in Pulaski County Circuit Court charging Dodds with eight felony counts including four Class B felony counts of Medicaid Fraud, three Class C felony counts of Medicaid Fraud and one Class D felony count of failure to maintain records. These charges stem from false claims totaling approximately $259,000 on six clients. The MFCU had previously arrested Dodds on one charge of Medicaid fraud in July.
During the investigation of Dodds, investigators with the MFCU observed an irregular billing pattern by Randolph. On Nov. 18, Randolph was arrested by special agents with the Attorney General’s office on warrants for 11 Class B felony counts of Medicaid fraud and one Class D felony count of failure to maintain records. Randolph is suspected of fraudulently billing the State Medicaid system $321,820 for services on 10 recipients and failure to maintain records properly on an additional $112,852.
Dodds and Randolph are both Licensed Professional Counselors who provide services as part of the Arkansas Medical Licensed Mental Health Practitioner Program. This program is designed to provide counseling for individuals who are suffering from psychiatric conditions and are under age 21.
Since 2012, Dodds was the highest billing provider in the program and has billed the Medicaid system a total of $715,317. Randolph is the second highest billing provider, billing Medicaid $584,683, during the same time period.
The Attorney General’s office was assisted in its investigation by the Office of Medicaid Inspector General.
Medicaid fraud occurs when Medicaid providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled.
Rutledge: For-Profit Higher Education Company to Change Practices, Forgive LoansMon, Nov 16, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that a for-profit higher education company, Education Management Corp. (EDMC), will significantly reform its recruiting and enrollment practices, and forgive more than $703,000 in student loans for approximately 800 former college students in Arkansas, through an agreement with Rutledge and a group of State attorneys general.
“Education Management Corp. used unfair and deceptive enrollment practices in providing loans to Arkansas students, said Attorney General Rutledge. “These loans, backed by Arkansas taxpayers, were destined to fail. I am pleased this agreement provides needed relief to a large number of former students in Arkansas who have been affected, and it requires Education Management Corp. to make numerous changes to protect future students.”
The agreement with attorneys general in 39 States plus the District of Columbia, through a consent judgment to be filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, mandates added disclosures to students, including a new online financial disclosure tool; bars misrepresentations to prospective students; prohibits enrollment in unaccredited programs; and institutes an extended period when new students can withdraw with no financial obligation.
EDMC, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, operates 110 schools in 32 States and Canada through four education systems, Argosy University, The Art Institutes, Brown Mackie College and South University.
Nationwide, the agreement requires the for-profit college company to forgive $102.8 million in outstanding loan debt held by more than 80,000 former students.
Those who will receive automatic relief related to outstanding EDMC institutional loans must have been enrolled in an EDMC program with fewer than 24 transfer credits; withdrawn within 45 days of the first day of their first term; and their final day of attendance must have been between Jan. 1, 2006 and Dec. 31, 2014.
The agreement is expected to provide an average of $1,370 per person in loan forgiveness.
The agreement will also put in place a significant online financial disclosure tool required for all prospective students who utilize federal student aid or loans. The impending system, called the Electronic Financial Impact Platform (EFIP), is currently under the final stages of development by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and State attorneys general.
Based on a prospective student’s individual data, EFIP will produce a detailed financial report that includes the student’s projected financial commitment, living expenses and potential future earnings.
Under the agreement, EDMC must:
- Not make misrepresentations concerning accreditation, selectivity, graduation rates, placement rates, transferability of credit, financial aid, veterans’ benefits, and licensure requirements. EDMC shall not engage in deceptive or abusive recruiting practices and shall record online chats and telephone calls with prospective students.
- Provide a single-page disclosure to each prospective student that includes the student’s anticipated total cost, median debt for those who complete the program, the default rate for those enrolled in the same program, warning about the unlikelihood that credits from some EDMC schools will transfer to other institutions, the median earnings for those who complete the program, and the job placement rate.
- Require every prospective student utilizing federal student loans or financial aid to submit information via the EFIP in order to obtain a personalized picture of the student’s projected education program costs, estimated debt burden and expected post-graduate income.
- Reform its job placement rate calculations and disclosures to provide more accurate information about students’ likelihood of obtaining sustainable employment in their chosen career.
- Be honest with prospective students regarding EDMC’s accreditation for positions that require state licenses.
- Require incoming undergraduate students with fewer than 24 credits to complete an orientation program prior to their first class.
- Permit incoming undergraduate students at ground campuses to withdraw within seven days of the beginning of the term or first day of class (whichever is later) without incurring any cost.
- Permit incoming undergraduate students in online programs with fewer than 24 online credits to withdraw within 21 days of the beginning of the term without incurring any cost.
- Require that its lead vendors, which are companies that place website or pop-up ads urging consumers to consider new educational or career opportunities, agree to certain compliance standards. Lead vendors shall be prohibited from making misrepresentations about federal financing, including describing loans as grants or “free money;” sharing student information without their consent; or implying that educational opportunities are, in fact, employment opportunities.
After receiving numerous complaints from current and former EDMC students, State attorneys general initiated a multistate investigation in January 2014. Attorneys and investigators reviewed consumer complaints, reviewed company documents and interviewed former EDMC employees.
Today, EDMC also agrees to pay a $95 million settlement of a separate federal whistleblower lawsuit under the False Claims Act. In that case, brought by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Department of Education, the government alleged that EDMC illegally paid incentive-based compensation to its admissions recruiters tied to the number of students they recruit.
Rutledge Announces Lake City Woman Sentenced for Medicaid FraudFri, Nov 13, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that a Craighead County woman has been sentenced to three years of probation on a Medicaid fraud charge.
Martha Renshaw, 51, of Lake City pleaded guilty to billing for Medicaid services not provided, a Class C felony. Renshaw must also pay a total of $4,210.95 in restitution and $6,632.85 in fines.
“Medicaid fraud is a serious issue, and investigators and attorneys from the Attorney General’s office continue to work to protect those receiving care,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Those receiving Medicaid deserve the best care, and I remain committed to making sure those attempting to defraud Arkansans will be held accountable.”
Renshaw was arrested in December as part of an investigation into Allcare Homecare in Jonesboro. Renshaw has already paid nearly half of the required restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund. Renshaw pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court on Tuesday.
Rutledge Celebrates Veterans DayWed, Nov 11, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement in recognition of Veterans Day.
“Today, we pause to celebrate and thank the brave men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform for generations to heroically protect our freedoms at home and abroad. Their courage and commitment is an inspiration to us all. I join with all Arkansans to express my sincere gratitude to our service members, as well as their families, for their steadfast devotion, which is second to none around the world.”
Rutledge will attend the Central Arkansas Veterans Day Ceremony at the North Little Rock Community Center on Willow Street at 11 a.m., as well as the ARVets Salute Gala fundraiser at the Clinton Presidential Library at 6 p.m.