Koster reaches deferred prosecution agreement

Keith Loria Feb. 16, 2011, 4:19am


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced on Wednesday that he has reached an agreement with a health care provider over alleged Medicaid infractions.

A deferred prosecution agreement was made with Harvest Home Care LLC and Cathy Ramey, its owner. The St. Louis-based business provides personal care services to elderly or disabled individuals in an effort to keep them living on their own.

Under state law, such companies must be licensed prior to providing these services, with even stricter requirements in place for those that provide consumer directed services.

Koster alleged that Harvest Home Care provided services without a license from Jan. 1, 2010, through Sept. 5. It also allegedly advertised, solicited and billed for these services during that period and until its agreement with Koster was signed.

The company also allegedly provided services conducted by unqualified persons and then falsely billed these services to Medicaid in the amount of $32,707.

"One of my top priorities as attorney general is to enforce our laws against those who cheat Missouri taxpayers by committing Medicaid fraud," Koster said. "We will continue to search for individuals who would perpetrate this kind of fraud, and recover public money stolen from our health care system."

Under terms of the agreement, the defendants admitted criminal liability and will pay $65,414 in penalties and restitution.

The agreement also calls for the company to end all advertising, soliciting and billing for consumer directed services until the state issues a proper license. The company must also obey all laws governing Medicaid and Medicaid payments and is require to bill Medicaid correctly.

If the defendants fail to comply with any of the requirements in the next three years, formal proceedings may be initiated against them. This could result in jail time, fines, criminal restitution and/or civil penalties.

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