June 11, 2018, Kimberly Marselas, McKnight's Long-Term Care News - Signature HealthCARE, the owner of 115 skilled nursing facilities, has agreed to pay $30 million to resolve allegations that it routinely placed residents at higher therapy levels to increase claims.
The settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, announced Friday, also resolves allegations that Kentucky-based Signature submitted forged pre-admission certifications of patient need to Tennessee's Medicaid program.
The allegations stemmed from a federal whistleblower lawsuit brought by former Signature therapy employees Kristi Emerson and LeeAnn Tuesca. The government intervened in the case, accusing Signature of engaging in several practices that resulted in claims for “unreasonable, unnecessary, and unskilled services to Medicare patients.”
Joe Steier, CEO and president of Signature Healthcare, told McKnight's working with the government over the last two years to reach the settlement “allows us to move forward in serving our residents and families with quality health care and a commitment to compassion.”
“Resident care remains our first priority, and therapy services are and remain an important part of that care,” he said in an email. “We are more focused than ever on our mission to serve each resident and family with excellence and will continue to work hard each and every day to deliver great outcomes for our residents.”