Feds, 41 states settle with staffing agency

By Bryan Cohen | Sep 12, 2011

WASHINGTON D.C. (Legal Newsline) - A multistate settlement was announced on Monday with one of the nation's largest healthcare staffing agencies resolving allegations that it defrauded Medicaid and the Veterans Affairs benefits programs.

Maxim Healthcare Services Inc., a privately held company based in Columbia, Md., will pay approximately $150 million as part of state and federal civil settlements. Maxim has more than 300 offices in more than 40 states and provides home medical staffing and healthcare, among other services, to tens of thousands of patients through approximately 60,000 external and internal employees.

Forty-one states received 41 separate settlements after the attorneys general for the states alleged that Maxim submitted false claims to government health care benefits programs for services to patients that were not provided, operated health care staffing offices that were not licensed under applicable state laws and regulations, and submitted government healthcare benefits program claims that were improperly documented and not reimbursable.

"Fraudulent billing for services not rendered uses patients as pawns in a game of corporate greed that puts cash over care and wastes precious taxpayer dollars," Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice Tony West said. "At a time when we're all looking for ways to reduce public expenditures, settlements like this one recapture taxpayer dollars lost to fraud and abuse, and help ensure that funds are available for the vital health care programs and services that people depend on day in and day out."

The global resolution with Maxim includes a federal civil settlement agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office and Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs, a deferred criminal prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office and a corporate integrity agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Under terms of the settlement, Maxim will pay $121.5 million to the Medicaid program and approximately $8.5 million to the Veterans' Affairs program. The corporate integrity agreement requires that Maxim allow an independent corporate monitor to many of its activities to determine the company's compliance with additional required corporate reforms.

"While we regret the circumstances that led to this settlement, we have taken this opportunity to review our operations closely and strengthen our infrastructure, including our systems, policies and procedures," Brad Bennett, Maxim's CEO, said. "This marks the beginning of a new chapter for our company. Maxim Healthcare remains strong and steadfast in its commitment to providing high quality care to the patients we serve."

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