Omnicare Inc., the nation’s largest provider of pharmaceuticals and pharmacy services to nursing homes, will pay more than $124 million to settle claims that it allegedly offered improper financial incentives to skilled nursing facilities, the Department of Justice recently announced.
The company gave discounts in return for the opportunity to provide medication to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, according to Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, who was quoted in a written DOJ statement.
“Nursing homes should select their pharmacy provider based on the best quality, service and cost to the residents, not based on improper discounts to the nursing facility,” he said.
In offering these discounts, Omnicare violated the Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits offering, paying, soliciting or receiving money for referrals of services covered by Medicare and Medicaid, among other federally funded programs.
The settlement resolves allegations brought in two lawsuits filed by whistleblowers that Omnicare submitted false claims by entering into below-cost contracts with skilled nursing facilities.
Of the $124.24 million to be paid by Omnicare, $8.24 million will go to states that funded the Medicaid programs impacted by Omnicare, and $17.24 million will go to whistleblower and former Omnicare employee Donald Gale.
Written by Emily Study