Attorney general settles lawsuit over fraud in home health care | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Attorney general settles lawsuit over fraud in home health care

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 4:09 PM

The office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that it had settled a lawsuit against Step by Step Senior Care. a home health care company, in a deal that included a civil penalty of $239,788.

The suit was also against company operators Breon Harmon and Clarise Tatum over false claims for state payments.

Step by Step, which continues to operate, will repay $479,577 to the Medicaid program — an amount questioned in an audit conducted by the Office of Medicaid Inspector General and the civil penalty for a total payment of $719,365. The amount will be reduced by $6,838 collected from Dawna Kincade in a criminal case. The agreement provides for closer monitoring of the home care agency and prohibits Harmon and Tatum from working with the company for five years.

The audit was conducted in 2014. It found evidence of fraud and questionable billing. The audit was referred to the attorney general in March 2015, two months after Rutledge took office. Subsequently, Step by Step employee Kincade pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud. She received five years of probation and paid $6,838 in restitution, plus a $7,500 fine.

Rutledge said this was the first false claims lawsuit filed by the state in 15 years and the largest civil penalty the office had won.

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