Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) will pay $979,000 in a settlement with the federal government and states, to resolve allegations that Emeritus Corp. failed to return Medicaid overpayments.
Emeritus was acquired by Brentwood, Tennessee-based Brookdale in 2014, creating the largest senior housing provider in the nation, with more than 1,100 communities. No wrongdoing is admitted under terms of the settlement announced Tuesday.
“While we’re pleased that this matter has been resolved, it is not an admission of liability,” a Brookdale spokesperson told Senior Housing News in an emailed statement. “It’s important to know that we were aware of the situation and were working toward repayment prior to the government’s involvement. There were never any allegations of fraud and we are putting this matter behind us so we can move forward and focus on our mission of enriching our residents’ lives.”
Based on estimations of overpayments that Emeritus allegedly failed to refund to state and federal programs between 2009 and 2014, the settlement involves a payment of $587,400 to the federal government, and $391,600 will be divided among 18 states where the senior living provider had facilities. Medicaid is jointly funded by states and the federal government, and provides health insurance for low-income beneficiaries.
The investigation began from a report by a former Emeritus employee who alleged the company “wrote-off” credit balances as a result of limitations in the company’s accounting software, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington. The program has since been replaced to better track overpayments, the attorney’s office stated.
The investigation was led by the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).
Written by Amy Baxter