A Texas-based rehab therapy provider agreed to pay $6.1 million last week to settle federal allegations that it had given kickbacks to nursing homes.
Between April 2013 and May 2017, Reliant Rehabilitation Holdings offered its own employed nurse practitioners to work at client nursing homes for little or no charge, the Justice Department said Thursday. In return, the Plano, TX, company encouraged skilled nursing facilities to contract with them for resident rehab therapy.
Charges were brought by whistleblower Thomas Prose, M.D., who will collect $950,000 of the settlement proceeds.
“Paying illegal remuneration to nursing homes and doctors to increase the bottom line — as contended by the government in this case — is unacceptable as it too often sacrifices the best interests of patients to profit-making schemes. Patients and taxpayers deserve better,” CJ Porter, special agent in charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.
Reliant said Thursday that it has discontinued the Reliant Medical Management program from which the charges stem. The company added that it cooperated fully with the investigation and chose to settle to “avoid the significant expense of litigation.” Reliant denied the DOJ’s allegations and is not admitting liability as part of the agreement.
“RMM is a program we discontinued more than a year ago and we are happy to have this matter behind us,” Reliant CEO Chris Bird said in a statement. “Reliant is committed to maintaining a strong compliance program companywide and invests significant time and resources into training its employees on a wide variety of compliance topics.”