The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against Arriva Medical and its parent Alere for submitting or causing false claimed to the Medicare program.
The agency also included Ted Albin, a reimbursement consultant for Arriva, as defendant in the lawsuit.
Arriva is a mail-order diabetic testing supply company based in Coral Springsm Florida. Alere is a big medical device company based in Waltham, Massachusetts. Abbot Laboratories acquired both companies in September 2017, after the alleged misconduct.
Allegations against Arriva, Alere
The DOJ alleged that Arriva and Allere routinely submitted false claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary glucometers. The companies’ action is a violation of the False Claims Act.
Additionally, the companies allegedly paid kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries in the form of copayment waivers and free glucometers or diabetic testing supplies. Anti-Kickback Statutes prohibits companies from waiving copayments or provision of other benefits to encourage patients to buy a product or service.
In October 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) canceled the Arriva’s billing number for Medicare. The action comes after the company billed Medicare for medical equipment shipped to a beneficiary, who was already dead for over two weeks. Arriva ceased its operations in December 2017.
DOJ is committed to protecting Medicare funds
In a statement, Jody Hunt, Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Civil Division, said, “We will seek to hold accountable health care providers that attempt to profit by providing illegal inducements and by billing for unnecessary items. We will continue to take appropriate legal measures to protect Medicare funds and to ensure a fiscally sound program that can serve all of our senior citizens.”
On the other hand, U.S. Attorney Donald Cochran commented that federal statutes have restrictions to prevent improper practices. He vowed, “We will continue to enforce the laws that protect the integrity of federal health care programs.”
Meanwhile, Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said Medicare has a regulation prohibiting payment for medically unnecessary services and supplies.