Local News

Roanoke Rapids ambulance service settles suit by feds

Posted May 4, 2011 9:55 a.m. EDT

— 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.