Federal court rules $1 billion nursing home case can proceed, ties alleged poor management to IL gub

A lawsuit that accuses one of the nation’s largest nursing facility operators of overbilling Medicare for unnecessary therapy services will proceed, a federal court has ruled, despite the company’s push to have the suit dismissed.

The lawsuit, which consolidated three separate complaints against SavaSeniorCare LLC, alleges that the company pushed employees to provide high levels of therapy to residents or face “threats of repercussions or termination,” and be “publicly shamed” into meeting budget goals. The “unattainable” goals were enforced throughout Sava’s 185 facilities between 2008 and 2012, according to the lawsuit.

The Department of Justice joined in the lawsuit against the provider in October.

In his Sept. 27 opinion, Chief District Judge Kevin Sharp denied Sava’s move to have the case dismissed, citing “sufficient factual averments” to back up the claims of the former employees who brought the complaints against the provider.

“A fair reading of the Consolidated Complaint suggests that [Sava], acting in concert, created and implemented policies in an effort to wrongfully enlarge Medicare billing,” Sharp wrote. “Given the scope of [Sava’s] request (dismissal of all claims), the brevity and wide sweep of their arguments, and their failure to acknowledge certain allegations, the Court finds it unnecessary to go any further.”

SavaSeniorCare ranks as the fifth-largest skilled nursing company in the United States, according to recent data, with 200 total facilities in 22 states.