Government Intervenes In Lawsuits Alleging That Skilled Nursing Chain SavaSeniorCare Provided Medically Unnecessary Therapy
In October of this year the US Government filed a consolidated complaint against SavaSeniorCare, LLC and related entities under provisions of the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act imposes liability on persons and companies who defraud governmental programs. Sava is one of the nation’s largest providers of short-term and long term care services in the United States. They operate approximately 200 skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in 23 states including several rehabilitation centers in Tennessee.
The government is alleging that Sava pressured its facilities to provide medically unnecessary and unskilled services and procedures to patients with the sole intent of maximizing profits. The government further alleges that Sava facilities delayed discharging patients who were otherwise ready to be released and aimed these practices at corporate targets placing increased revenues over patient need.
The government’s lawsuit is being filed under the qui tam whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. Lately, Medicare fraud cases have been in the spotlight due to increased scrutiny from the recently appointed Attorney General of the United States, Loretta Lynch. In June of this year, Lynch and The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the results of a nationwide sweep resulting in charges against 243 individuals who are alleged to have been involved in Medicare fraud. Included among the charged were 46 doctors, several nurses and other licensed medical professionals.
The False Claims Act provides that defendants who are found guilty of charges brought against them are subject to damages equal to three times the government’s loss plus applicable penalties. Tips about potential fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement that could lead to a qui tam lawsuit, can be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477). The consolidated lawsuit is being handled for the government by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher C. Sabis of the Middle District of Tennessee.