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South Carolina Ambulance Company Pays $800,000 to Settle Claims of Medicare Fraud

A South Carolina ambulance company will pay the U.S. government $800,000 to settle a whistleblower’s claims that it billed Medicare for ambulance rides that weren’t medically necessary, falsifying paperwork to make the trips seem justified.

Williston Rescue Squad Inc., based in Williston, S.C., did not admit liability in the case.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Sandra McKee, a social worker who worked at a dialysis center where Williston’s ambulances dropped off patients. McKee sued under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, which allows private parties to sue on behalf of the United States for fraudulent use of government funds.  The government then decides whether to intervene in the lawsuit.

For her contribution to the case, McKee will receive $160,000.

The settlement comes after the U.S. Department of Justice doubled the number of attorneys working on Medicare fraud cases in South Carolina as part of its broader effort to use the False Claims Act to fight fraud against federal healthcare programs. Since 2009, the Justice Department has recovered more than $10 billion in such cases.

Medicare covers ambulance rides, but only for patients who are bed-confined or have a condition that requires ambulance transport.

“Billing Medicare for unnecessary ambulance transports contributes to the soaring costs of health care,” said Stuart F. Delery, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

The Employment Law Group® law firm’s whistleblower attorneys have helped many clients file suit against employers that fraudulently bill the U.S. government, and have established favorable precedents under the retaliation provision of the False Claims Act.

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