Medicare Fraud in New Jersey: Diakon agrees to pay federal government $10.5 million

Diakon agrees to pay federal government $10.5 million
Diakon Hospice Saint John, which operates hospice care at facilities in Hazleton, Allentown, and Wyomissing, has agreed to resolve its liability for violations of the False Claims Act by paying the United States $10.56 million.
The announcement was made today by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services‘ Office of the Inspector General.
According to those offices, from Oct. 1, 2004 through Oct. 1, 2010, Diakon erroneously submitted claims to the Medicare Program for hospice care provided to Medicare beneficiaries during periods of time in which the beneficiaries were not eligible for hospice benefits under the Medicare regulations.
Earlier this year, Diakon voluntarily disclosed to federal authorities that it had received improper Medicare and Medicaid payments. By voluntarily disclosing improper billing practices, Diakon
avoided a government lawsuit under the FCA and was able to negotiate a settlement.
The FCA provides that parties who voluntarily disclose violations of the act are liable for double damages, instead of triple damages and civil penalties between $5,500 and $11,000 for each violation.
“Health care providers that make billing compliance, self policing, and self reporting a priority foster trust in the health care industry” said Nick DiGiulio, special agent in charge for the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General. “These actions demonstrate that Diakon Hospice Saint John cares about returning money, incorrectly attained, to our federal health payment programs.”
To read the complete story, see Friday’s Times Leader.
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