The U. S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced on May 21, 2021 that SavaSeniorCare LLC (“Sava”) has agreed to pay $11.2 million, plus additional amounts if certain financial contingencies occur, to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by causing its skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to bill Medicare for rehabilitation therapy services that were not reasonable, necessary, or skilled, and to resolve allegations that Sava billed Medicare and Medicaid for grossly substandard skilled nursing services.
Sava, based in Atlanta, Georgia, currently owns and operates more than 160 skilled nursing facilities across the country, including three facilities in Pennsylvania.
The settlement resolves four False Claims Act lawsuits, one in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and three consolidated in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. The lawsuits allege that Sava submitted false claims for rehabilitation therapy services by engaging in a systematic effort to increase its Medicare billings. Through corporate-wide policies and practices, Sava allegedly exerted significant pressure on its SNFs designed to meet unrealistic financial goals, resulting in the provision of medically unreasonable, unnecessary, and unskilled services to Medicare patients. Sava allegedly set these aggressive, prospective corporate targets for the highest Medicare reimbursement rates to significantly increase Sava’s revenues without regard for its patients’ actual clinical needs and then pressured its staff to meet those targets. Sava also allegedly delayed discharging patients from its facilities in order to increase its Medicare payments, even though the patients were medically ready to be discharged.
The settlement also resolves allegations that between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2018, Sava submitted false claims for payment to Medicare and Medicaid for grossly and materially substandard and/or worthless skilled nursing services, which were caused in large part by Sava’s failure to provide a sufficient number of skilled nursing staff to adequately care for its nursing home residents. This failure of care allegedly resulted in preventable pressure ulcers, preventable falls, and preventable medication errors.
Sava also entered into a five-year, chain-wide Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) that requires an independent organization to annually review patient stays and associated paid claims by Medicare for those stays, including provision of rehabilitation therapy services to ensure that they are reasonable and necessary to improve, maintain, or slow deterioration of the patient’s condition, or restore the patient’s prior level of function. In addition, Sava is required to engage an independent monitor to review the quality of resident care. CIAs promote compliance and protect vulnerable nursing home residents.
If you have information regarding false claims having been submitted by a nursing home to Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, other federal health care programs, or to other federal agencies/programs, and the information is not publically known and no actions have been taken by the government with regard to recovering the false claims, you should promptly consult with a False Claims Act attorney (also known as qui tam attorneys) in your U.S. state who may investigate the basis of your False Claims Act allegations and who may also assist you in bringing a qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the United States, if appropriate, for which you may be entitled to receive a portion of the recovery received by the U.S. government.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with qui tam lawyers (False Claims Act lawyers) in your U.S. state who may assist you with a False Claims Act lawsuit involving a nursing home.
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