Nursing home chain settles record $145M overbilling case

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (AP) – An eastern Tennessee-based skilled nursing home chain has reached a $145 million settlement that federal officials called the largest ever of its kind.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Monday that Life Care Centers of America Inc. and owner Forrest L. Preston agreed to settle claims they overcharged Medicare and TRICARE for services provided to elderly patients.

Federal officials said staffers from 2006 to 2013 were ordered to provide unnecessary therapy to nursing home residents and keep patients in the facility longer than was needed in order to bill extra days. The Cleveland-based chain denied wrongdoing.

Two whistleblowers who worked for the nursing home company will share $29 million.

The company owns some 200 skilled nursing, rehabilitation, Alzheimer’s and senior living campuses in 28 states.