Lawsuit claims Beverly defrauded federal programs

Share this content:

A New Jersey doctor filed a lawsuit against BEI of Fort Smith, AR, claiming the company defrauded the government of more than $20 million a year since July 1998 from Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs.

Dr. Joseph Piacentile, who filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Fayetteville, claims he learned of a pattern of false reimbursement claims dating from 1996. He said he met with BEI vendor employees and others in the industry between September 1997 and February 2000.

BEI, formerly known as Beverly Enterprises Inc., said the lawsuit is "frivolous" and expects it will be dismissed.

A federal judged unsealed the case this week, according to a local news report, after the government declined to participate in it. Besides BEI, the suit names Batesville, IN-based Hill-Rom Co., South Hackensack, NJ-based National Patient Care Systems and Bethesda, MD-based Hanger Orthopedic Group.