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Comprehensive Health Services pays $3.9 million for allegedly double billing IRS

Company billed twice for vision screenings, resting electrocardiograms and collecting blood samples for IRS agents, DOJ says.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Florida-based workforce medical services provider Comprehensive Health Services will pay $3.9 million to settle allegations it violated the False Claims Act by double-billing the IRS for services in connection with a contract Comprehensive had with them, the Department of Justice announced.

Comprehensive contracts with government entities and companies for customized medical programs for large workforces. Their services include everything from pre-placement, pre-deployment and medical examinations to medical surveillance and health wellness programs.

The firm entered into a contract with the IRS in February 2009 that required the company to provide medical services to IRS-Criminal Investigation special agent applicants and incumbent special agent personnel. It also required that they provide pre-placement medical examinations including various tests like resting electrocardiograms and vision tests, that were to be part of a bundled fee. CHS also had to perform certain medical tests to gauge incumbent agents' fitness for duty and ability to participate in physical fitness programs.  These services included physical fitness examinations that were only supposed to be billed if medically necessary, the DOJ said.

[Also: Running list of notable 2017 healthcare frauds]

The government alleged that from April 2009 through April 2014, Comprehensive double-charged the IRS for vision screenings, resting electrocardiograms and collecting blood specimens provided to IRS agents after the costs had already been included in the bundled price for the exam.

"We cooperated fully upon learning of the allegations. Our own review identified an accidental overbilling issue stemming from a mistake made when the IRS contract was originally set up in 2009. We confirmed that no other contracts were impacted. While we are confident that this was a onetime mistake, CHSi has taken significant steps to improve our existing processes. We have also added a new Chief Compliance Officer, as well as additional staff resources in auditing, quality, finance, and operations to bolster our contract set-up process and to ensure we continue the great service that our customers expect," said Gary Palmer, CEO of Comprehensive Health Services.

The settlement throws out the allegation that they charged the IRS for annual full physical exams for IRS agents despite the fact they were either not determined to be "medically indicated or were never actually performed, the DOJ said.

The original lawsuit was filed by James Kerr Jr. under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act. Kerr will receive approximately $645,391 as his portion of the recovery. Comprehensive Health Services cooperated in the investigation.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn

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