Four states, federal government share $9.9 million Medicaid fraud settlement

Drew Smith Sep. 30, 2008, 12:39pm

Bill McCollum (R)

DEERFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline)-Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Michigan will be receiving money from Walgreen Co., an Illinois-based pharmacy chain, as part of a $9.9 million Medicaid fraud settlement.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced today his state will be receiving more than $1.5 million from the Deerfield, Ill.-based company, while Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said the Bay State would be getting more than $3.5 million.

Michigan, Minnesota and the federal government will be receiving a total of $4.9 million.

"This substantial recovery of funds will help ensure the continued availability of Medicaid funds which provide basic health care products and services for those who need it most," said McCollum, a Republican.

The settlement is a result of an investigation that found the pharmacy chain had received excessive Medicaid payments for prescription drugs given to people who had both Medicaid and private third-party insurance coverage. The billing improprieties took place between January 1998 and December 2005.

The investigation arose from a whistle-blower lawsuit filed in April 2005 in the U.S. District Court in Minnesota. The whistleblowers will receive $1.4 million of the settlement.

"Pharmacies and other medical service providers that do business with the Massachusetts Medicaid program must understand and follow the law," said Coakley, a Democrat.

"This settlement demonstrates the ongoing commitment our office has made to identify and eliminate improper billing practices that drain desperately needed funds from the state's Medicaid budget," she added.

Florida will give $300,000 of its settlement money to the state's Medicaid program in recoveries and more than $220,000 will be given to the state general revenue fund.

More News