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Roanoke Rapids ambulance service settles suit by feds

Posted May 4, 2011

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— An ambulance service in Roanoke Rapids has agreed to pay the state and federal governments $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit over allegedly fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims.

Mark Collier, commander of the Roanoke Valley Rescue Squad, said in a letter to squad members that the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing. The squad only wanted to avoid the cost of defending the suit, he said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services filed a complaint against the squad last year, alleging that it transported patients for routine medical treatments who didn't meet eligibility requirements for ambulance service.

Collier said in the letter that the squad has tightened its practices by contracting with a new billing company, appointing a compliance officer, conducting more internal and external audits and increasing its review of whether non-emergency dialysis patients have a medical necessity for transportation.

"We want to let everyone know that health care billing today is an extremely complex process, and we have worked with great effort to strengthen and improve not only our billing process but our documentation systems as well," Collier wrote.

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  • Sherlock May 4, 2011

    1.5 is a great deat to pay w/o a fight. They did not want to go to court and lose because they are guilty. Service like this is just another reason that we have to pay so much for the service.

  • thinkin out loud May 4, 2011

    What is not mentioned is how medicare and medicaid billing rules changed in the last year or 2 and many of the patients that did meet the requirment no longer do. If the people responsible for billing didn't keep up with the changes this is what happens. Also, medicare/medicaid was paying when the patient was not eligible then coming back later wanting the money back, which may very well be what happened here.

  • superman May 4, 2011

    Lawyers must be pretty expensive-- paying 1.5 million to settle without paying a lawyer. I am glad they didnt do anything wrong.