Florida Ambulance Fraud Lawyer
Most False Claims Act lawsuits are based on dishonest conduct on the part of a physician or hospital, such as billing Medicare or Medicaid for unnecessary treatments. This is not, however, the only type of fraud for which those employed in the healthcare industry can be held liable. Ambulance fraud, for instance, has become an increasingly serious problem across the country, both in the contracting process and the actual providing of transportation services. Individuals who have evidence of this type of fraudulent activity can, however, report it to the government by failing a False Claims Act lawsuit, which if successful, could result in an award of between 15 and 30 percent of the damages collected by the government. To learn more about filing this type of claim in Florida, please reach out to our experienced Florida ambulance fraud lawyers today.
Billing for Unnecessary Transportation Services
Ambulance fraud can take a number of different forms, but one of the most common schemes involves charging Medicare for unnecessary transportation. Ambulance companies are reimbursed by Medicare and similar federal healthcare programs when they provide ambulance transportation to patients when it is medically necessary. This is not true, however, in non-emergency cases, or where a cheaper alternative could be used to safely transport a patient. In these cases, Medicare won’t cover the cost of the trip.
Unfortunately, some companies try to evade this rule by billing the government for ambulance services that aren’t actually necessary. While physicians are generally required to certify that an ambulance is necessary before Medicare will reimburse the ambulance company for transport coverage, providers are not generally required to submit that certification to Medicare, which often results in misconduct amongst unscrupulous vendors.
Illegal Kickbacks and Contract Discounts
Besides billing for unnecessary transportation services, offering kickbacks in exchange for contract discounts is perhaps the most common form of ambulance fraud. Under these schemes, medical transportation companies enter into contracts with hospitals, local governments, and nursing facilities to provide ambulance services, but include inappropriate terms in their agreements that allow them to improperly acquire business. A federal law, known as the Anti-Kickback Statute, which specifically prohibits arrangements involving the referral of medical services in exchange for remuneration also includes a prohibition against this type of contracting for ambulance services.
Reporting Ambulance Fraud
In an effort to stem the billions of dollars worth of fraud-related losses incurred by Medicare and Medicaid every year, lawmakers enacted the False Claims Act, which allows individuals with knowledge of irregular billing activity, to file a lawsuit on the government’s behalf. Successful plaintiffs are not only protected from retaliation by their at-fault employer, but could even receive a reward of up to 30 percent of the amount recovered by the federal government.
Get Legal Help Today
If you have questions about filing a whistleblower claim against an emergency transportation services provider, or other healthcare professional, please contact the experienced Florida ambulance fraud lawyers at McCabe Rabin, P.A. by calling 561-659-7878 today.