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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that Wisconsin has joined with the United States government and other states to reach a settlement with Mariner Health Care, Inc. (“Mariner') and Sava Senior Care Administrative Services, LLC (“Sava”), two nursing home chains operating out of Atlanta, Georgia and their principals.
The terms of the agreement call for the payment of $182,370.97 to the state as part of $422,419.08 attributable to Wisconsin Medicaid. The federal and state governments jointly fund Medicaid, a health care program for the needy. The settlement resolves allegations that the defendants solicited and received kickback payments from Omnicare, Inc. (“Omnicare”), the nation's largest pharmacy that specializes in dispensing drugs to long term care facilities.
“We work hard to protect taxpayer dollars and make sure that those who truly need medical assistance can get it,” stated Van Hollen. “Cases and settlements like this help Wisconsin Medicaid get the most bang for its buck. This will let providers know that they'll be held to account for any attempt to receive or provide illegal kickbacks.”
The settlement is based on a complaint filed in March 2009 in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts under state and federal false claims statutes, in which the plaintiffs allege that Omnicare, Mariner, Sava, and three individual investors conspired to arrange for Omnicare to pay $50 million in exchange for agreements by Mariner and Sava to continue using Omnicare's pharmacy services for a 15 year period. The states and federal government have received a total of $14 million in civil damages from Mariner and Sava to compensate Medicaid and Medicare programs for harm suffered as a result of this conduct.
As part of the settlement, Mariner has entered into a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. This agreement requires Mariner to implement procedures and reviews to avoid this type of conduct and to closely monitor Mariner's practices going forward.
In November 2009, the United States government and several states also entered into a $98 million settlement agreement with Omnicare that, among a variety of kickback claims in several cases, resolved Omnicare's liability for the allegations in this matter.