N.H. to get $300k in Medicaid fraud deal

The state of New Hampshire will receive more than $300,000 as part of a $150 million settlement with a Maryland health care company that was charged with Medicaid fraud.Maxim Healthcare Services of Columbia, Md., a national provider of home health care services, has agreed to pay $20 million in criminal penalties and $130 million in civil charges to the federal government and 42 states on claims that it fraudulently billed Medicaid and the Department of Veterans Affairs for services it did not actually provide.New Hampshire will receive $302,754 through the settlement, which will be returned to the state Medicaid system, said Walter Pazdon, an attorney with the state Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit.Maxim has one New Hampshire office in Manchester and formerly had a satellite office in Portsmouth, said Pazdon.The investigation into Maxim originated in New Jersey as the result of a whistleblower lawsuit filed in 2004 by Richard West, a Medicaid patient with muscular dystrophy who said the company had overbilled Medicaid for hundreds of hours of care he had not received.The investigation revealed that false billings were a common practice at the company from 2003 to 2009, and that it had submitted more than $61 million in false claims during this period. “Medicaid is a huge program,” said Pazdon. “A lot of money is being paid out, there are a lot of participants — chances are there are going to be some who are going to game the system.”To date, eight former Maxim employees, including three senior managers, have pleaded guilty to felony charges in the case.Maxim CEO Brad Bennett said in a press release the company takes “full responsibility” for the events and is “pleased to reach a settlement that will allow us to move forward with the important work of caring for our patients and clients who depend on us each and every day.”The company has made several changes since 2009, including hiring a new CEO and chief compliance officer and terminating the employees responsible for the misconduct.The company has also hired a corporate monitor to oversee its business operations.Through the federal whistleblower law, West — who is a Vietnam veteran — will receive 10 percent, or about $15.4 million, of the settlement. — KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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