A Tennessee-based skilled nursing company has agreed to pay about $18 million to settle claims that it violated the False Claims Act by billing for “grossly substandard” nursing home services.
The Department of Justice announced terms of the settlement Wednesday, which it says is the largest such resolution in Tennessee’s history. Government officials allege that between 2010 and 2015, Vanguard and several of its SNFs provided “worthless” services to residents, failing to administer medications, ignoring standard infection controls, and using unnecessary physical restraints.
Under the agreement, Vanguard and its related companies, which have reorganized in bankruptcy, have agreed to pay more than $5.1 million toward the settlement. Two other Vanguard entities that are liquidating in bankruptcy have agreed to pay $13.5 in “allowed claims.” Owner and CEO William Orand and his former director of operations, Mark Miller, will also pay $250,000.
Miller and Orand said in a statement they “strongly deny the allegations,” stressing that the settlement “is not admission of liability whatsoever.” They noted that the $13.5 million claim is against two entities previously owned by Vanguard, and those “non-guaranteed claims” will be administered by the bankruptcy court, and not paid out by Vanguard.
“As in many civil cases, the cost of litigating this matter exceeded the cost of settlement,” the company said. “As a result, while Vanguard believed it would have been fully vindicated in court, it made the business decision to settle the matter.”
Vanguard and Orand have also agreed to enter a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of the Inspector General for the next five years, and the company must retain a quality of care monitor, according to the announcement.