AG Gansler Settles Medicaid Fraud Claims Against Mariner Health Care
Maryland to collect $140,000 from pharmacy/nursing home kickback scheme
MD ( Oct. 21, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Maryland has joined with the federal government and other states in reaching a settlement with Mariner Health Care, Inc. and Sava Senior Care Administrative Services, LLC, two nursing home chains operating out of Atlanta, Georgia. The settlement will return $137,735.51 to the Maryland Medicaid program.
“Kickback arrangements are illegal and anticompetitive, costing taxpayers' money,” said Attorney General Gansler. “Maryland will recover damages and this company's conduct will be closely monitored by the federal government in the future.”
The states and federal government have received a total of $14 million in civil damages from Mariner and Sava to compensate Medicaid and Medicare programs for harm suffered as a result of this conduct. The settlement resolves allegations that the defendants solicited and received kickback payments from Omnicare, Inc. (“Omnicare”), the nation's largest pharmacy that specializes in dispensing drugs to long term care facilities.
The settlement is based on a complaint filed in March 2009 in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts under state and federal false claims statutes, in which private individuals and government entities allege that Omnicare, Mariner, Sava, and others conspired to arrange for Omnicare to pay $50 million in exchange for agreements by Mariner and Sava to continue using Omnicare's pharmacy services for a 15 year period.
In November 2009, the United States and numerous states also entered into a $98 million settlement agreement with Omnicare that resolved Omnicare's liability for the allegations in this matter, along with several other matters. Maryland received $684,943.06 from Omnicare in that settlement.
As part of the settlement, Mariner has entered into a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. This agreement requires Mariner to implement procedures and reviews to avoid this type of conduct and to closely monitor Mariner's practices going forward.
A team formed by the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units conducted settlement negotiations with the defendants on behalf of the participating states. Attorney General Gansler would like to thank Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Chief Auditor Ruth Jarrell for her work on this case.