Editor’s Note: The original version of this article has been updated to include statements received from Daybreak Venture.
Skilled nursing operator Daybreak Venture has agreed to pay more than $357,000 to settle charges that it employed workers excluded from federal health programs, authorities recently announced.
Five excluded workers were identified through a data analysis project done by the Office of Inspector General’s Office of Audit Services. While the federal investigation was ongoing, Daybreak identified two other excluded workers, according to the OIG.
Daybreak first was contacted by the OIG about this matter in March 2014, according to a statement emailed to McKnight’s. The company subsequently performed a self-audit of about 5,000 individuals and entities that are or have been associated with Daybreak.
“Since the discovery of these matters, Daybreak has committed additional resources and personnel to its Compliance Department for the purposes of conducting systematic re-verifications of individuals and entities who may be on OIG’s excluded list,” wrote Chief Executive Officer Michael A. Rich.
The Texas-based company is committed to employing only those who are eligible, he emphasized.
Individuals can be barred from federal health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid for a variety of reasons, such as that they are convicted of fraud or abuse. Providers are not allowed to hire these people and then bill the government for services they render.
“We see a lot of employment of excluded individuals in nursing homes,” said Susan Gillin, deputy chief in the Administrative and Civil Remedies Branch of the OIG.
Gillin spoke to McKnight’s in May 2013, in conjunction with the release of updated guidelines on the hiring of excluded individuals. The guidelines include a timeframe in which employers should be checking an online database of excluded people and organizations.
The Daybreak settlement took effect Oct. 24.