The owner of Piedmont Infusion Services in Danville has agreed to a settlement with the United States Department of Justice over allegations of falsely billing Medicare and Medicaid after a former employee provided whistleblower information, federal authorities announced this week.
The company and its owner — Jacob Patterson, 66, of Danville — will pay $310,000 to “resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act and the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act by submitting false bills to Medicare and Medicaid,” officials wrote in a news release.
Patterson, a pharmacist, owned the pharmacy-based infusion center at 111 Mall Drive in Danville.
The center had nurses and nursing assistants who provided patients with compounded prescriptions and “needle and catheter method medications ordered by their physician,” the release stated. Piedmont Infusion Services did not employ a physician or a physician’s assistant.
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From 2013 to the beginning of 2018 “Patterson and Piedmont Infusion Services falsely and knowingly billed Medicare and Medicaid for high-level office visits that simply did not occur,” authorities wrote in a statement.
“Providers who fraudulently bill Medicare defy basic requirements for their participation in the program and wrongfully attempt to collect taxpayer funds,” said United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh. “Here, because a former employee came forward, we learned that patients were not receiving the care that Jacob Patterson and Piedmont Infusion Services claimed to provide.”
The civil settlement includes the resolution of claims brought under whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act against Piedmont Infusion Services and Patterson, the release reported. The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.
“Providers must honestly represent the drugs and services provided and follow the rules in place to protect patient safety,” Kavanaugh wrote in the release. “To do otherwise is fraud.”
Federal authorities also said Patterson and Piedmont Infusion Services “knowingly and fraudulently double-billed Medicare Part B for medications already billed to Medicare Part D.”
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares also weighed in on the settlement.
“I am proud of my office’s great working relationship with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia and the Department of Medical Assistance Services to combat abuse committed against the Virginia Medicaid program,” Miyares said in a statement. “Medicaid fraud can happen anywhere, to anyone. Together, we are committed to holding the bad actors that abuse Virginians accountable.”