Feds finalize record $145 million settlement with Life Care Centers of America

Feds finalize record $145 million settlement with Life Care Centers of America
Feds finalize record $145 million settlement with Life Care Centers of America

Life Care Centers of America has agreed to pay $145 million to settle claims that it billed for unnecessary therapy services, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

The agreement between Life Care Centers and the DOJ, which was announced last month in a brief before the deal was finalized, marks the “largest settlement with a skilled nursing facility chain in the department's history,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer.

The settlement resolves allegations that Life Care Centers created company-wide policies between 2006 and 2013 to boost residents into the Ultra High therapy reimbursement level, regardless of their clinical needs, as well as claims that it kept providing therapy to residents who no longer needed it. In a statement to McKnight's on Monday, the company said it has “strongly disagreed with the allegations, and believes that it was entitled to payment for services rendered.”

Monday's announced deal also settles allegations brought in a separate lawsuit against Life Care Centers' founder and CEO, billionaire Forrest Preston, authorities said.

“We deny in the strongest possible terms that Life Care engaged in any illegal or improper Conduct,” Preston said in the statement. “We are, however, pleased to finally put this matter behind us, without any admission of wrongdoing, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to deliver quality care and services to our patients, residents, and their families.”

Life Care Centers also entered a five-year corporate integrity agreement as part of the settlement, which requires an outside organization to annually assess the medical necessity of the therapy services the company bills to Medicare.