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Gentiva to pay $12.5M to settle Medicare fraud claims

Atlanta-based Gentiva Health Services, one of the country's largest providers of home health services, has agreed to pay $12.5 million to settle claims that it fraudulently billed Medicare for costs related to company sales efforts.

An investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office and the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services found Gentiva improperly billed Medicare between 1998 and 2000 for salaries and other costs of employees performing sales functions designed to increase patient use. A press release from the U.S. Attorney's office in New York indicated Medicare covers certain advertising costs but not the cost of advertising to the general public.

Gentiva, formerly based in Melville, N.Y., has denied the government's allegations. Gentiva provides home health and hospice services in more than 450 communities across the country.

[See also: Gentiva Health Services to acquire Odyssey HealthCare in $1B hospice deal.]

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