Home Health Operator to Face Millions in Fines After DOJ Investigation

New Jersey home healthcare agency operator BAYADA will face $17 million in fines to resolve False Claims Act allegations brought against it by the Department of justice (DOJ) for “paying a kickback to a retirement home operator by purchasing two of its home health agencies (HHAs) located in Arizona,” according to a press release issued Wednesday.

“Parties who pay or receive kickbacks in order to induce referrals undermine the integrity of the health care system,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

The government argued that the company purchased the retirement home’s HHAs to induce referrals of Medicare beneficiaries nationwide from the seller’s facilities. The proceeding was initiated through a qui tam action, based on whistleblower claims from BAYADA’s former director of strategic growth.

According to the press release, the False Claims Act’s Anti-Kickback Statute bars entities that participate in federal healthcare programs from knowingly and willfully offering, paying or receiving any remuneration in order to induce the recommendation of any item for which payment is made…under a federal health care program.” They added that this prohibition extends to asset purchases made to induce.