Feds sue over alleged false claims

Michael P. Tremoglie Aug. 17, 2012, 2:39pm

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - The Justice Department filed a complaint Aug. 7 against California Rural Indian Health Care Board for allegedly submitting false claims in connection with a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

CRIHB, a private nonprofit, non-tribal entity, received Access to Recovery grant from SAMHSA in 2004. CRIHB was supposed to administer a program that would provide alcohol and substance abuse treatment and recovery support services for American Indians and Alaskan Natives in California via choice of service providers.

SAMHSA is the component of HHS that is charged with improving, treating and preventing the substance abuse and mental health needs of individuals nationwide.

The lawsuit alleges that the portion of the grant allocated for recovery support services was misspent on ineligible expenses unrelated to treatment or recovery support such as rent, utilities, mortgage payments and car expenses.

It further alleges that CRIHB instructed service providers to bypass the required client substance abuse screening and assessments, and that CRIHB allowed expenditures to be made without the required vouchers, or without providing the client a choice of providers to whom to take the voucher, all contrary to the terms of the grant and the governing regulations.

CRHIB did not respond torequest for a comment.

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