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[MM Curator Summary]: 2 whistleblowers tipped off investigators about the company’s bogus billing for vent machines.
STANVILLE, Ky. — A Floyd County company has agreed to pay $200,000 to resolve allegations that it defrauded the government by billing for unnecessary medical equipment.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky announced the settlement on Tuesday.
Oxygen Plus, based in Stanville, rents non-invasive ventilators for patients with severe respiratory diseases to use at home. The company was accused of submitting more than 300 false claims to Medicare and Medicaid between 2017 and 2021, by continuing to bill for the rentals even after the patients were no longer using them.
The allegations were brought to light by two whistleblowers who worked at the company as a respiratory therapist and a bookkeeper. They accused the company of pressuring employees to solicit Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to rent the machines.
The lawsuit lists five patients who were given lifetime prescriptions for the ventilators, despite not showing symptoms to support a diagnosis of respiratory failure. One of those patients was never examined by a doctor.
For reporting the false claims to the government, the whistleblowers will split a $32,000 share of the settlement.